CONNECTIONS – 11/29/09

For week of November 29, 2009
Issue 280

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 spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
Job 33:4

CONSIDER
“It’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
Unknown

THANKSGIVING IN THE MIDST OF FEAR
Fourteen Thanksgivings ago in the pages of Christianity Today, Philip Yancey shared a powerful meditation on giving thanks in a time of suffering and fear. Its source was one of Christianity’s most complex and compelling poets: John Donne.

Born in England in 1571, “Jack” Donne spent his youth in dissoluteness and rebelliousness, expressed in witty erotic poetry. Turning at last to Christ, Donne came to see himself as a prodigal saved only by grace.

Through a middle age marked by increasing devotion to Christ — but also by poverty and discouragement — he turned his evident poetic skill to the great themes of love, death, and God’s mercy. Then in 1615 he became an ordained Anglican priest, whereafter he poured his creative energies more into sermons than poems.

During a near-fatal illness in the year 1623, however, Donne turned again to poetry, completing his most famous volume, the Devotions upon Emergent Occasions.

Each day, the bedridden clergyman heard from his window the church bells of London announcing that the Black Plague — then scourging Europe — had taken more victims. Donne was convinced he, too, had the plague and would soon die (in his famous phrase, the person “for whom the bell tolled” was himself).

It turned out that he did not die quite yet; he recovered, living on to the age of 59 or 60. But in the teeth of his suffering and fear, Donne poured out verses reaching towards God.

These poems speak, as Yancey says, to “the guilt and fear and helpless faith that marked [Donne’s] darkest days.” They also answer one of the toughest questions we can face, “In the midst of plague times, how can we give thanks?”

Here are the three poems excerpted by Yancey, with his clarifying revisions of Donne’s 18th-century language: …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2003/nov28.html

CHRISTIAN LEADERS ISSUE ‘A CALL OF CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE’
Christian leaders reaffirmed their conservative stances on abortion, same-sex marriage, and religious liberty with a 4,700-word declaration released Nov. 20.

Signed initially by 125 evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox leaders, the Manhattan Declaration (http://www.manhattandeclaration.org/) calls Christians to adhere to three primary convictions, even if this requires civil disobedience. Charles Colson, who helped draft the declaration, said the statement brings Christian leaders together on the issues of abortion, marriage, and religious freedom in the face of growing pressure.

“There are three issues that are foundational to a Christian perspective and society,” Colson told Christianity Today. “It was important for us to ground all of our moral concerns in the three foundational truths.”

Christian leaders realized they needed to come together and reaffirm their positions as a group, Princeton University professor Robert George said…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/novemberweb-only/146-52.0.html

Also see “What Does the Manhattan Declaration Really Mean?”
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/novemberweb-only/147-21.0.html

“Manhattan Declaration unlikely to inspire young Christians”
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2009/11/manhattan_declaration_unlikely_to_inspire_young_christians.html

CALLING FOR COMMON SENSE ABOUT CHRISTMAS, RUTHERFORD INSTITUTE ISSUES LEGAL GUIDELINES FOR CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS IN PUBLIC, AT SCHOOL OR WORK
Hoping to alleviate any confusion over the do’s and don’ts of celebrating Christmas in schools, workplaces, and elsewhere, The Rutherford Institute has issued its “Twelve Rules of Christmas” guidelines, which are available at http://www.rutherford.org. Rutherford Institute attorneys are preparing to deal with the annual onslaught of calls to their legal hotline regarding the censorship of Christmas celebrations. In years past, the Institute has been besieged by calls from parents and teachers alike complaining about schools changing their Christmas concerts to “winter holiday programs” and renaming Christmas “winter festival” or cancelling holiday celebrations altogether to avoid offending those who do not celebrate the various holidays…. Read this in full at
http://www.rutherford.org/articles_db/press_release.asp?article_id=796

WORLD VISION GOES AROUND THE WORLD TO FIND THE TRUE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS
Since November 19, World Vision and thousands of people around the world have been traveling the globe in search of the Christmas spirit as part of the Christian humanitarian agency’s “Spirit of Christmas” tour. The month-long tour features interviews and stories with children and families in the United States, Ecuador, Cambodia, Zambia and Ethiopia. World Vision’s team has been highlighting both the heartbreaking circumstances of the poor and the inspiring impact even small donations of a few dollars can make in helping families provide for their children.

“Since we started the tour, we’ve met homeless families in the South Bronx, seen students struggle to afford pencils for school, and talked to parents who say they are worried about paying next month’s rent,” said Devin Hermanson, campaign manager for World Vision’s “Spirit of Christmas” tour. “It’s been eye-opening to me to come face-to-face with the needs of the poor in our own country, but I’m optimistic that our work through the Gift Catalog will help these families in the coming year.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/about/20091123-Christmas-tour-Ecuador

GOD’S SHOCKING LOVE
“Jesus once declared that God is “kind toward the unthankful and evil” (St. Luke 6:35), and I remember preaching a sermon on this text to a horrified and even astonished congregation who simply refused to believe (so I gathered afterwards) in this astounding liberality of God. That God should be in a state of constant fury with the wicked seemed to them only right and proper, but that God should be kind towards those who were defying or disobeying His laws seemed to them a monstrous injustice. Yet I was but quoting the Son of God Himself, and I only comment here that the terrifying risks that God takes are part of His Nature. We do not need to explain or modify His unremitting love towards mankind.”
J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Making Men Whole

RETURN TO PUTTING HIM FIRST
“Like a husband’s first love for his young bride, that’s how God feels about you. Like a loving parent desires his children to trust his guidance, God longs to lead you into life. But when we put things that are worth less first in our lives, before God, we end up feeling worthless ourselves. We can never feel secure enough, we can never get enough, because we’ve abandoned the fountain of living water to dig wells for ourselves that are full of cracks and can never satisfy our deepest thirst. God pleads with people through the prophets to return to putting him first.”
from Soul Revolution: How Imperfect People Become All God Intended by John Burke

‘BLIND SIDE’ ONE OF THE BEST OF THE YEAR
by Phil Boatwright
The key words in John 3:16, for the purpose of this article, are “world” and “whosoever.” Those two words indicate that God finds value in each person. So God bless those who understand that each life is a miracle.

Actress Sandra Bullock, director John Lee Hancock and a family from Memphis have done just that in the film “The Blind Side,” which tells the true story of a homeless black youth (Michael Oher) who is taken in by a white family. He goes on to play college and pro football…. Read this in full at
http://bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=31745

MEDIA ORGANIZATION TRANS WORLD RADIO CHANGES NAME TO TWR, ALSO EMBRACES NEW POSITIONING STATEMENT ‘SPEAKING HOPE TO THE WORLD’
International Christian ministry Trans World Radio, a pioneer in media missions, will change its name to TWR on November 18, 2009. At the same time, the organization also will adopt the positioning statement “Speaking Hope to the World” to fortify its new identity.

“While our commitment to radio broadcasting remains steadfast, the name Trans World Radio no longer fully conveys the scope of our organization,” says TWR President Lauren Libby, speaking in a media release.

“TWR is more than radio. It is a multifaceted media ministry. By changing the name to TWR, we will maintain radio as a keystone communication component all the while employing a strategic integration of new media platforms. In fact, we will even seek to enlarge our broadcasting footprint.”

Libby explained that TWR is committed to leveraging digital advances such as the Internet, MP3 players, video and other mobile-device formats…. Read this in full at
http://www.assistnews.net/STORIES/2009/s09110091.htm

RECEIVING GOD’S FORGIVENESS
“I don’t like having my weakness exposed. I find it hard to look squarely into my heart, to have my self-illusions punctured. Perhaps by slowing down and allowing myself to feel the pain, not to wallow in it, I will be given the grace to recognize what led to my failure. Maybe God will give me not only his forgiveness but the kind of self-understanding that will help me break out of the habits and patterns that lead to sin. Perhaps receiving God’s forgiveness, like extending it, is for most of us a process rather than an event.”
from The Tender Words of God by Ann Spangler

FOUR QUESTIONS FOR MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT MOST ANYTHING
by Bill Ellis
I know a man who became excited about nothing. He heard some top political leaders, at various times, make this statement: “I want to do what is best for the American people.”

With a burst of energy, he quickly announced to his wife and other friends, “Senator so and so and Representative so and so are resigning.” The immediate response was, “Where did you hear that?” He replied, “I just heard them say they wanted to do what was best for America.” It is not that easy because there is a distinct difference of opinion as to what is best.

Recently, I attended a meeting of a very active Rotary Club. Both the lunch and program were good. It was the place mat, however, that caught my attention. It had some interesting information on it. For example, it stated: “The world’s first service club was the Rotary Club of Chicago, founded February 23, 1905 by Paul P. Harris and three of his friends. The name ‘Rotary’ was derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among the members’ offices.”

Rotary International consists of more than 27,000 Rotary Clubs in 150 countries. Each determines its own activities and projects and most meet weekly. “Rotary International is encouraging clubs to focus on illiteracy, drug abuse prevention, childhood immunization, and helping the young and elderly.”

More than one million volunteer business and professional men and women are united worldwide to “provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and build universal peace and goodwill.” Rotary members may be best described by their motto “SERVICE ABOVE SELF.”

Perhaps every bill considered and passed in every state legislature and by the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate and certainly the United States Congress should pass what Rotary calls “The Four-Way Test.” Every governor and the President of the United States should use this important test before they sign any bill.

It is “The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say, or do.” Here are the four test questions:
“Is it the TRUTH?
“Is it FAIR to all concerned?”
“Will it build GOODWILL & BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?”
“Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”…. Read this in full at
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2009/s09110065.htm

HOW TO BECOME A PEOPLE BUILDER
by Rick Warren
For 12 years the Green Bay Packers won only 30% of their games. By 1958 they were 1 in 10. They were terrible. Then came Vince Lombardi. He was a people builder. During the next nine years with the Packers, he had nine winning seasons. They beat their opponents 75% of the time and won five championships, including the first two Super Bowls. That’s the resume of a people builder. A people builder makes people better.

These four steps will help you build people more effectively:…. Read this in full at
http://www.pastors.com/blogs/ministrytoolbox/archive/2009/10/13/how-to-become-a-people-builder.aspx

LEADERSHIP
“An approach of constantly learning is a style demanded by the age in which we live. With information growing at an incalculable rate, no one can hold command of every detail in every discipline. Leaders who are effective will develop familiarity with a wide range of subjects rather than a depth of detail in a few. By developing a working knowledge covering a wide range of subjects, leaders will be free to rise above individual issues to see the whole picture — the manner in which the issues are related, and the comparative value of each issue.”
from Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader by Joe Hilley

VERSE TO PONDER
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”
Psalm 95:1-2

CONSIDER
“Making marriage work is like running a farm. You have to start all over again each morning.”
Unknown

CHRISTIANITY’S EARLY DAYS DEBATED BY SCIENTISTS
“How did the Mediterranean world become predominantly Christian?” asks historian Adam Schor of Long Island University, in Brookville, NY, in the current Journal of Religious History. “Generations of scholars have approached it, but each new theoretical angle seems to reopen basic questions.”

Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, of course, after the death of Jesus around AD 33, moving from a persecuted minority in the time of the Roman emperor Nero in AD 64 (blamed for Rome’s most famous fire), to state religion with the Emperor Constantine’s victory in AD 312. But how — and how much — the early church grew in that time-frame remains a mystery, Schor notes, one that scholars have solved in widely divergent ways, starting in 1997 with sociologist Rodney Stark’s book, The Rise of Christianity, with similarly conflicted answers…. Read this in full at
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/columnist/vergano/2009-11-20-christianity-roots-science_N.htm

GOD’S POWER VS NONSENSE
“God’s omnipotence means [His] power to do all that is not intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to Him, but not nonsense. This is no limit to His power. If you choose to say, “God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,” you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words “God can.” It remains true that all things are possible with God: the intrinsic impossibilities are not things but nonentities. It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of His creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives–not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.”
C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Problem of Pain

WORLDWIDE POLL FINDS STRONG SUPPORT FOR RIGHT TO CRITICIZE RELIGION
A survey of 20 nations has found strong support for the right to criticize religion. According to the survey of more than 18,000 people, 57% agreed that “people should be allowed to publicly criticize religion because people should have freedom of speech;” 34% of all respondents said they supported the right of governments “to fine or imprison people who publicly criticize a religion because such criticism could defame the religion.”

The strongest support for the right to criticize religion came from the United States, with 89%; followed by Chile at 82%; and Mexico at 81%. Britain came fourth, with 81% supporting the right to criticize religion.

The poll, conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org, was released Nov. 23 as the UN General Assembly prepared to debate a proposal calling for the prohibition of the defamation of religions…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20091123/poll-finds-strong-support-for-right-to-criticise-religion/index.html

Also see “Majorities Reject Banning Defamation of Religion: 20 Nation Poll”
http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/btjusticehuman_rightsra/647.php?nid=&id=&pnt=647&lb=

ANGLICAN BISHOPS: WEAR CHRISTIAN SYMBOLS AT CHRISTMAS
The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Gledhill, the Bishop of Lichfield, told worshippers to wear crosses or fish symbols to demonstrate that Christmas is a religious holiday.

He also criticized “politically-correct” companies and local councils who sought to make the period a secular celebration.

Bishop Gledhill said: “Companies’ sacking those who want to wear a cross or fish lapel badge and councils rebranding Christmas out of fear of offending ethnic minorities are decisions made out of sheer ignorance.

“I think it wouldn’t be a bad thing if in December all Christians wore a fish badge or cross necklace and sent out a loud message that Christians aren’t going to disappear quietly from the Christmas market place.”

His intervention has been welcomed by other bishops and comes only one week after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that crucifixes should not be displayed in Italy’s schools…. Read this in full at
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/6636130/Anglican-bishops-wear-Christian-symbols-at-Christmas.html

FOR CHURCHES, BEEFED-UP SECURITY IS A MIXED BLESSING
Jesus may have taught his disciples to turn the other cheek, but these days some churches are hiring armed security teams — just in case that whole forgiveness thing doesn’t work out.

A flurry of violent crimes in churches has shaken the image of houses of worship as safe havens. In October a priest in New Jersey died after being stabbed 32 times in his parish rectory. In May an abortion provider was shot in the head inside a Kansas church. A Maryland woman was killed in February by her spurned husband in her church’s parking lot. And that was all just this year. After a gunman killed two people and wounded seven others at a Tennessee church in the summer of 2008, conservative Christian outlet OneNewsNow polled 4,000 churches and found that three-quarters had no security plan…. Read this in full at
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1940685,00.html

AMERICANS MORE LIKELY TO CREDIT OBAMA FOR VERSE ON JUSTICE THAN BIBLE
A Bible verse about caring for the poor and the oppressed was wrongly attributed by a majority of U.S. adults to celebrities, politicians and other prominent figures including President Obama, Oprah, Bono, and Angelina Jolie.

Only 13% of Americans surveyed by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Bible Society was able to correctly credit the Bible as the source of Proverbs 31:8-9, the Contemporary English Version of which states: “You must defend those who are helpless and have no hope. Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless.”

Fifty-four percent, meanwhile, credited the passage to other sources, with President Obama cited as the most likely author by Americans (16%). Behind Obama, the Dalai Lama was cited as the most likely author by survey participants (9%), followed by Martin Luther King Jr. (8%), Oprah Winfrey (4%), and U2 frontman Bono (3%).

“The survey illustrates the reason we created ‘The Poverty and Justice Bible,’” commented R. Lamar Vest, president of American Bible Society, “to highlight God’s concern for the poor, marginalized and oppressed.”…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20091124/more-americans-credit-obama-for-verse-on-justice-than-bible/index.html

CRUSADERS: NOBLE LIBERATORS OR BRUTAL INVADERS?
The conventional wisdom in pop culture films like Kingdom of Heaven and among theologians is that the Crusades were unchristian and unprovoked. By attacking peaceable, advanced Muslim settlements in the Middle East, the Crusades sparked a conflict between Christianity and Islam that continues to this day. At least that’s the message that President Clinton conveyed in a post-9/11 speech, in which he apologized for the Crusades.

But that’s not exactly true, says Rodney Stark, professor of social sciences at Baylor University and author of the new book God’s Battalions: the Case for the Crusades. “The notion of the evil wicked West — I’m sick of it,” Stark says.

Stark, author of 27 books on religion and history, says that the evil Crusader story doesn’t fit with reality. His book lays out the history of the Crusades, starting with the rise of the Muslim empire in the 700s…. Read this in full at
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/Religion/post/2009/11/crusaders-noble-liberators-or-brutal-invaders/1

FAITH ‘IS THE BACKBONE OF WHO I AM’, SAYS SUSAN BOYLE
Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle has credited her Christian faith for helping her come to terms with the death of her mother.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the church worker from Blackburn, West Lothian, told of her struggle after mother Bridget died in 2007.

“After mum died it didn’t fully register until maybe six months after. That’s when the loneliness set in and there was nobody around except my cat Pebbles. When you lose someone as powerful as your mum you feel as if a part of you is taken away and that does things to your confidence,” she said…. Read this in full at
http://www.christiantoday.com/article/faith.is.the.backbone.of.who.i.am.says.boyle/24638.htm

STARS LINED UP FOR NEW AUDIO BIBLE
Once Jesus signed on, it was easy to enlist King Solomon and Moses. Jim Caviezel (Jesus), Malcolm McDowell (King Solomon) and Richard Dreyfuss (Moses) were among hundreds of actors who lined up to create “The Word of Promise Audio Bible,” all 98 hours and 79 CDs of it.

The nearly four-year project, released last month,was the inspiration of Carl Amari, a Chicago-area producer behind “Twilight Zone Radio Dramas,” “Mystery Theater” and other radio programs.

“I always thought it would be cool to do a radio drama of the Bible,” said Amari, who grew up “not real religious” in the Catholic Church. “You’re dramatizing the greatest story ever told. It’s God’s word. How can you make God’s word lift off the page? With great actors, great sound effects and music.”

Amari pitched the concept in early 2006 to Thomas Nelson Inc., a Nashville-based publisher of Christian books, software and videos. He was an admirer of the company’s 1982 modern translation of the King James Bible…. Read this in full at
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-beliefs16-2009nov16,0,5626865.story?track=rss

EX-HAGGARD COUNSELOR: WE WISH HE WOULD NOT DO THIS
A member of Ted Haggard’s now-defunct restoration team says he and the others wish the former megachurch pastor would have followed their counsel rather than doing what he is now.

H.B. London, vice president of Pastoral Ministries at Focus on the Family, had joined the team overseeing a counseling program for Haggard after a highly-publicized drugs and sex scandal three years ago led to the once influential leader’s resignation from the presidency of the National Association of Evangelicals and forced him out of church he founded, New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

Though Haggard claims that he has felt God’s touch in his life more in the past three years than in the previous 30, his decision to not only return to Colorado Springs but to gather what could potentially be the “nucleus” of a new church just one mile away from New Life has been met with disapproval from some camps.

“The irony of all of this is that, from the very beginning, Mr. Haggard had been counseled to go to another city, complete his restoration program, experience healing in his family and with his addiction, and only then begin again. But, he has made a choice not to do that,” commented London just days after Haggard’s first in-home prayer meeting…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20091122/haggard-counselor-we-wish-he-would-not-do-this/index.html

ZONDERVAN ISSUES APOLOGY FOR PUBLISHING ‘DEADLY VIPER’
Zondervan President and CEO Moe Gerkins apologized on behalf of the company for publishing Deadly Viper: A Kung Fu Survival Guide for Life and Leadership, a book that uses Chinese characters and images for illustrations.

Gerkins said the company will remove the book and curriculum from stores permanently, according to an email to North Park Theological Seminary professor Soong-Chan Rah.

Rah called for an apology on November 3 on his blog because of what he perceived as insensitivity to Asian culture and to the Asian-American community…. Read this in full at
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2009/11/zondervan_issue.html

YOUTHWORKS!, INC. TO ACQUIRE YOUTH SPECIALTIES FROM ZONDERVAN
YouthWorks!, Inc. (YW) — a multi-denominational family of ministries that plans and implements life-changing, Christ-centered missions trips and ministry experiences — has agreed in principle with Christian communications and publishing company Zondervan to acquire Youth Specialties — the international leader in training and equipping youth pastors and youth ministry leaders.

The agreement is for the YW acquisition of the Events Division of Youth Specialties. The publishing rights of Youth Specialties will remain with Zondervan. The acquisition is expected to be completed before the end of the year and will significantly expand the reach of the YW family of ministries, which currently operates in more than 80 cities in the U.S. and Canada. YW ministries have served more than 400,000 participants through 10,000 churches. Youth Specialties serves more than 10,000 churches and 100,000 youth ministry workers worldwide…. Read this in full at
http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/NewsRoom/NewsReleases/YouthWorks_Aquires_Youth_Specialties.htm

MATTERS OF FAITH, POLITICS ON TABLE AS PALIN VISITS GRAHAM
Sarah Palin, the hottest name in the Republican Party, took a detour from her book-signing tour Nov. 22 to dine with Billy Graham at his mountaintop home in Montreat.

“He’s followed her career and likes her strong stand on faith,” said son Franklin Graham, who was present for the 2 1/2-hour get-together. “Daddy feels God was using her to wake America up.”

The former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate told Billy Graham about how she came to faith in God as a girl in Bible camp.

She quizzed him on the presidents he’s known and wanted his take on what the Bible says about Israel, Iran and Iraq, Franklin Graham reported…. Read this in full at
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/topstories/story/1070916.html

ADVENTURES IN MISSIONS ‘WORLD RACE’ FOR JANUARY 2010
Over 100 men and women ages 21-35, compelled by issues of social justice and simple living, are leaving the comfort of their homes and possessions in January of 2010, to travel 11 countries in 11 months, sharing the hope of Jesus Christ as they go.

The group is called the World Race (http://www.theworldrace.org/) and was first conceived by Seth Barnes, founder and executive director of Adventures In Missions, in 2006. He designed a trip that would remove young people from their comfortable lifestyles for a year–to see the developing world and be transformed by what they saw.

The first team consisted of 14 people. Since then, AIM has sent 92 teams consisting of over 630 men and women on 12 different trips around the world and visiting over 64 countries…. Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/3618812258.html

ARCHAEOLOGISTS PUBLISH FIRST MAP OF CONTESTED SITES IN MIDDLE EAST
A team of archaeologists from UCLA, USC, Israel, and Palestinian territories has developed the first map detailing Israeli archaeological activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem — much of it never publicly disclosed.

The fully searchable online map (http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/wbarc/), which serves as a window into thousands of years worth of archaeological sites in the Holy Lands, has won the 2009 Open Archaeology Prize from American Schools of Oriental Research, the main organization for archaeologists working in the Middle East…. Read this in full at
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/boynter-149142.aspx

RARE, HEAVY RAINS SOAK PILGRIMS IN ISLAM’S HAJJ
Rare, heavy rainstorms soaked pilgrims and flooded the road into Mecca, snarling Islam’s annual hajj as millions of Muslims headed for the holy sites. The downpours add an extra hazard on top of intense concerns about the spread of swine flu.

Pilgrims in white robes porting umbrellas, some wearing face masks for fear of the flu, circled the black cube-shaped Kaaba in Mecca, the opening rite for the hajj. But the shrine — Islam’s holiest site — and the nearby, rain-soaked streets did not see the usual massive crowds, because many tried to stay inside nearby hotels or were caught up in the traffic jams heading into the city.

The hajj — a lifetime dream for Muslims to cleanse their sins — is always a logistical nightmare, as a population the size of a small city moves between Mecca and holy sites in the nearby desert over the course of four days…. Read this in full at
http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2009/11/rare-heavy-rains-soak-pilgrims.php

ISLAM’S PROPHET SHROUDED BY MYTH, DEVOTION
For believers, he is the trustworthy messenger of God, a living link to the divine whose life and teachings animate the lives of an estimated 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.

Yet for detractors, Islam’s Prophet Muhammad is a polygamist who spawned a religion that subjugates women, condones violence, and was, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “spread by the sword.”

In short, when his best-known modern portrait is a 2005 Danish cartoon that depicts a surly bearded man with a bomb hidden in his turban, Muhammad has an image problem.

“He’s been remade in the image of Osama bin Laden,” said Bruce Lawrence, who directs the Duke Islamic Studies Center at Duke University. “People connect the dots and see this fanatical side of Islam and say (militants) must be following someone, and they point to Muhammad.”

Enter Omid Safi, an up-and-coming scholar of Islam at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill whose new biography, “Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters,” attempts to discover the true Muhammad obscured by both hagiography and militant extremism…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/rnstext/islams_warrior_prophet_shrouded_by_myth_devotion1/

‘TWAS THE NIGHT OF THANKSGIVING
‘Twas the night of Thanksgiving,
But I just couldn’t sleep.
I tried counting backwards,
I tried counting sheep.
The leftovers beckoned
The dark meat and white,
But I fought the temptation with all of my might.

Tossing and turning with anticipation,
The thought of a snack became infatuation!
So I raced to the kitchen,
Flung open the door,
And gazed at the fridge full of goodies galore.

I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.
I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
Till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground!!

I crashed through the ceiling, floated into the sky
With a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie,
But I managed to yell
as I soared past the trees …

HAPPY EATING TO ALL,
PASS THE CRANBERRIES PLEASE!!
http://www.mikeysFunnies.com

CONSIDER
“The Christian life is never static. One must either grow in grace, or there will be backsliding and deterioration.”
Henry Ironside

VERSE TO PONDER
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
Colossians 3:15

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: COME, THOU LONG EXPECTED JESUS
Words: Charles Wesley, 1745
Music: Rowland H. Prichard, 1830

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/c/o/m/comtlong.htm

ON PRAYER
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Colossians 4:2

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.

Jelly Jumper Game
http://www.jellyjumper.com/game/en/nnnT9I1S/

Night Photo of North and South America
http://www.redrat.net/blackhole/earthlights.htm

Dramatic photos of nature
http://officeofstrategicinfluence.com/gates/

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.)

A clear conscience make a soft pillow.
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/

———-

Subscribe!
Subscribe to CONNECTIONS here

Get Archives of all past issues here:
http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/connections/archives_all.html

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