CONNECTIONS – 12/13/09

For week of December 13, 2009
Issue 282

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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A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Proverbs 15:1

CONSIDER
“That which is infinite is as much above what is great as it is above what is small.  Thus God, being infinitely great, He is as much above kings as He is above beggars; He is as much above the highest angel as He is above the meanest worm.”
Jonathan Edwards

MORE US CHRISTIANS MIX IN ‘EASTERN,’ NEW AGE BELIEFS
Going to church this Sunday? Look around. The chances are that one in five of the people there finds “spiritual energy” in mountains or trees, and one in six believes in the “evil eye,” that certain people can cast curses with a look — beliefs your Christian pastor doesn’t preach.

In a Catholic church? Chances are that one in five members believes in reincarnation in a way never taught in catechism class — that you’ll be reborn in this world again and again.

Elements of Eastern faiths and New Age thinking have been widely adopted by 65% of US adults, including many who call themselves Protestants and Catholics, according to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life…. Read this in full at
http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-12-10-1Amixingbeliefs10_CV_N.htmhttp://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-12-10-1Amixingbeliefs10_CV_N.htm

THE SHY VIRTUE OF CHRISTMAS
by John Piper
My favorite Christmas text puts humility at the heart of Christmas. So this Christmas I am marveling at Jesus’ humility and wanting more of it myself. I’ll quote the text in a moment.

But first there are two problems. Tim Keller helps us to see one of them in a recent article in Christianity Today. He reminds us, “Humility is so shy. If you begin talking about it, it leaves” (Dec. 2008, p. 51). So an article about humility (like this one, or like his) is self-defeating, it seems. But even shy people peek out sometimes if they are treated well.

The other problem is that Jesus wasn’t humble for the same reasons we are (or should be). So how can looking at Jesus’ Christmas humility help us? Our humility, if there is any at all, is based on our finiteness, our fallibility, and our sinfulness. But the eternal Son of God was not finite. He was not fallible. And he was not sinful. So, unlike our humility, Jesus’ humility originated some other way…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianity.com/Home/Christian%20Living%20Features/11597191/

FARMER SEES DIVINE SIGN IN COW BORN AT CONNECTICUT DAIRY
A calf with a white marking on its forehead in the approximate shape of a cross was born recently at a dairy farm in Sterling, a small rustic town on the Rhode Island border. Owner Brad Davis tells WFSB-TV he thinks the marking may be a message from above, though he’s still trying to figure out what that message might be.

The mostly brown calf is half Jersey, half Holstein. Neighborhood children have named it Moses.

The chairman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Dairy Science tells the Norwich Bulletin newspaper it’s not unusual for a Holstein cow to have a white marking on its head. But department chairman Ric Grummer says the cross shape is unusual.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2009-12-09-holy-cow_N.htm

WARNER PRACTICES WHAT HE PREACHES: STRONG BELIEF, VICTORY
Kurt Warner walked gingerly to the University of Phoenix Stadium postgame podium with a left hip pointer, placed his black leather Bible on the wood lectern, then discussed the Arizona Cardinals’ 30-17 pounding of the Minnesota Vikings.

Warner cuts a compelling figure. The 38-year-old quarterback and team Bible study leader commands respect inside his locker room as a New Testament devotee and an old-school, tough guy.

“He’s a warrior,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said after Warner’s 285-yard, three-touchdown performance. “Not only just to play, but to play at the level he played at was amazing. We really fed off him. He’s a Hall of Fame player for a reason.”

On a night when Vikings quarterback Brett Favre set a remarkable milestone for toughness with the 283rd consecutive start by a position player, Warner gave his own sermon on resilience. He returned after missing the previous week’s last-minute loss to the Tennessee Titans because of post-concussion symptoms. Then, he outplayed Favre…. Read this in full at
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/cards/2009-12-07-warner-leads-cards-wins-faith_N.htm

IT’S A CHRISTIAN MAN’S WORLD
The Promise Keepers, in an attempt to stage a comeback, are reaching out to women and Messianic Jews. But why?
by Lilly Fowler
In the 1990s, the evangelical men’s ministry the Promise Keepers packed 50,000-seat football stadiums and even stuffed the Mall in Washington, DC, with close to 600,000 sweaty, Jesus-loving males. Marshaled by Bill McCartney, a former University of Colorado football coach, the group took the evangelical world by storm. But PK’s star fell as rapidly as it rose, particularly after McCartney departed the organization in 2003 to establish a group that brings Christians and Messianic Jews together. Now McCartney is back, and he’s trying very hard to resurrect the Promise Keepers.

The men’s ministry never really stopped drawing crowds, but the numbers of attendees did dwindle. The organization once operated with a $117 million budget, but it dipped down to $34 million in 2001, according to a New York Times article. In 2003, the year McCartney retired, about 172,000 men attended 18 arena events, according to the Washington Post. While many ministries would be thrilled with those numbers, they were nowhere near the figures the group had enjoyed at its high point. In an attempt to stage a comeback, the Promise Keepers are reaching out to two unlikely groups: women and Messianic Jews…. Read this in full at
http://www.slate.com/id/2236269/

LISTEN TO ‘THE CHRISTMAS STORY’ AUDIO BIBLE PRESENTATION
“The Christmas Story” is an audio dramatized, word-for-word reading from the New Testament Gospels of Matthew and Luke and is produced by Faith Comes By Hearing, the world’s foremost Audio Bible ministry. This realistic audio recording was produced using multiple character voices, musical backgrounds and sound effects. The entire Bible is available to be heard online at
http://www.FaithComesByHearing.com

CHRISTIANS MUST PRESENT GOD AS A GOOD GOD, SAYS EVANGELICAL
The most important role for Christians today is not to rehabilitate the church, but rather to help people realize again that the God Christians serve is a good God, said the former head of the UK Evangelical Alliance.

Joel Edwards, who stepped down this year to head Christian anti-poverty movement Micah Challenge, says that a worse problem in the world than people’s disobedience was the “defamation” and “demonization” of God.

People outside the church see God as vindictive, mean, prohibitive and a killjoy, he said. “We’re obsessed with an incredibly good God [inside the church] and outside people have got a very different take on God and it seems as if we live in these two worlds,” he noted. “God has such a bad image and we share that bad image … a lot of our effort is about rehabilitating how people see us.”…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20091205/christians-must-present-god-as-a-good-god-says-edwards/index.html

BIBLICA CELEBRATES 200 YEARS OF BIBLE OUTREACH
Civil War soldiers. Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island. Church leaders in war-torn areas. At-risk urban teens. Biblica has engaged in global Bible outreach for 200 years, distributing more than 650 million Scriptures to people in need of its life- transforming message.

Friday, December 4, 2009, Biblica celebrated its 200th anniversary as a Bible outreach ministry.

On Dec. 4, 1809, a handful of Christian visionaries met in lower Manhattan, NY, to form the New York Bible Society (later International Bible Society and now Biblica). Their passion was to see the fledgling nation rooted in Christian faith by providing Bibles to people who lacked access to them. Early leaders included Revolutionary War hero Col. Henry Rutgers, for whom Rutgers University was named, and Samuel Miller, a founder and director of Princeton Theological Seminary.

Biblica’s work extends to every continent and people group. By the end of its first century of work, Biblica had distributed more than 4.9 million copies of Scripture to soldiers, the destitute, immigrants, churches, pioneers, and others. Our first published Bible was a French Bible in 1815 for settlers in the French-speaking Louisiana Territory. Ministry to the military began during the War of 1812 and has continued through every major conflict since.

Biblica also translates the Bible for major language groups lacking contemporary translations, currently working on translations in 27 languages. Biblica is the translation sponsor of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, the most widely read contemporary English version…. Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/6202912356.html

ATHLETES MAKE A STATEMENT WITH EYE BLACK
College football players are speaking out. And like with most movements, it all starts with a thought and a sticker. Athletes are using their eye-black adhesives for blocking out glare — and for promoting self-expression.

Quarterbacks have always demanded attention, but now they are using the limelight to mourn the dead, proselytize, advertise, and show support for friends. The National Collegiate Athletic Association prohibits players from advertising a product, but that hasn’t stopped some players from advertising ideas and religious beliefs. University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has taken to this new form of mass communication religiously…. Read this in full at
http://www.miamiherald.com/457/story/1366590.html

HUMANISTS LAUNCH A GODLESS HOLIDAY CAMPAIGN
As the calendar goes, December tends to be a winning month for God. Christians celebrate the birth of Christ. Jews mark the story of Hanukkah. Muslims this year will observe the start of Al-Hijra, the Islamic New Year.

And the American Humanist Assn. has decided to join the festivities with an alternative celebration in mind. The group, consisting of atheists and others who say they embrace reason over religion, has launched a national godless holiday campaign, with ads appearing inside or on 250 buses in five US cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. The placards depict smiling people wearing red Santa hats with the slogan: “No God? . . . No problem!” …. Read this in full at
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-beliefs7-2009dec07,0,1767112.story

THE STATE OF MAINLINE PROTESTANT CHURCHES
When Baby Boomers were born, the Protestant landscape of America was dominated by the six major mainline denominations. (Those bodies are typically considered to be the American Baptist Churches in the USA; the Episcopal Church; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the Presbyterian Church (USA); the United Church of Christ; and the United Methodist Church.)

Since the 1950s, however, mainline churches have fallen on hard times, declining from more than 80,000 churches to about 72,000 today. The growth among evangelical and Pentecostal churches since the 1950s, combined with the shrinking of the mainline sector, has diminished mainline churches to just one-fifth of all Protestant congregations today. In the past 50 years, mainline church membership dropped by more than one-quarter to roughly 20 million people. Adult church attendance indicates that only 15% of all American adults associate with a mainline church these days.

A new report issued by The Barna Group focuses upon changes in the mainline churches during the past decade. The report examines shifts in both the adults who attend those churches and the pastors who lead them…. Read this in full at
http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/17-leadership/323-report-examines-the-state-of-mainline-protestant-churches

ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ DOWNPLAYS RELIGION
In the aftermath of 9/11, religions in America took a front page position, and Anne Graham Lotz felt burdened to convey the message that the one true God is not interested in religion.

“We’ve always known about other religions, but Islam, Judaism and Christianity are three major world religions that are talked about in the news every day now,” Lotz told Baptist Press.

“Abraham is considered the patriarch of these religions, but he actually left religion in order to pursue a personal relationship with God. He was not a religious man from the time he left Ur on. He instead pursued a relationship with God,” she said.

Sometimes even people within the church think of the god of Islam as the same as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but he’s not, Lotz said, and they confuse religion with a personal relationship with God.

“So it was really 9/11 and the aftermath of that and what I see going on now that I felt like it needed to be underscored that we’re not talking about religion,” she said. “God has not invited us to a religion or a denomination or an organization. He has invited us to a personal relationship with Himself.”

After studying the life of Abraham for 33 years and following his pattern of interacting with God, Lotz decided the time was right to communicate her testimony through the book “Magnificent Obsession: Embracing the God-Filled Life,” the story of friendship with God in a daily walk of obedient faith.

The most difficult distraction to overcome as she tries to live out the God-filled life patterned by Abraham, Lotz said, is busyness.

“So many things make our lives easier in a sense, whether it’s a cell phone or e-mail or Twitter or Facebook and that kind of stuff, but it also ratchets up the busyness of your life. We can cram more in,” she said.

“I think just having that quiet, focused time to spend with God every day is vitally necessary to pursuing a relationship with Him. You establish that relationship at the cross by faith, but then you develop it day by day, step by step,” Lotz, evangelist Billy Graham’s daughter, said. “It requires time spent reading your Bible, listening for His voice to speak to you, applying it to your life, living it out in obedience.”…. Read this in full at
http://bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=31807

IN CHRIST WE HAVE…
A love that can never be fathomed;
A life that can never die;
A righteousness that can never be tarnished;
A peace that can never be understood;
A rest that can never be disturbed;
A joy that can never be diminished;
A hope that can never be disappointed;
A glory that can never be clouded;
A light that can never be darkened;
A happiness that can never be interrupted;
A strength that can never be enfeebled;
A purity that can never be defiled;
A beauty that can never be marred;
A wisdom that can never be baffled;
A resource that can never be exhausted.
Unknown Author

SHOULD CHURCHES WORRY ABOUT A PANDEMIC
Should churches abandon the common cup during communion? Is it unsafe to extend the peace of Christ with a handshake during worship? Are we spreading too many germs when we hold hands during prayer? In light of the continuing news about the H1N1 influenza outbreak, churches across the nation are wrestling with questions like these and trying to make wise and sensible decisions to keep their congregations safe and healthy.

To help in that undertaking, ChurchSafety.com is offering, for free, the 31-page electronic resource, “Preparing Your Church for a Pandemic.” The download offers church leaders advice on how to organize a response plan, communicate effectively with staff and members, and set up policies to stem the risk and spread of infection. The resource is available at
http://www.churchsafety.com/topics/emergencies/medical/preparingyourchurchforapandemic/cs59.html

CHRISTIANS NEED ‘A THEOLOGY OF POWER,’ ACCORDING TO PROMINENT SOCIOLOGIST
Christians need to develop “a theology of power,” sociologist Michael Lindsay concluded after interviewing 360 evangelicals who hold influential positions in politics, business, entertainment, and academia.

In particular, Lindsay noted, evangelical Christians need a theological basis for answering questions like, “How do we appropriately leverage the possibilities that arise when we accrue advantages?” and, “How do we avoid the perils of privilege?”

Lindsay, associate professor of sociology at Rice University and author of Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite, spoke to the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute’s winter colloquy on “Understanding the Times, Knowing What To Do.” B.H. Caroll is a Texas Baptist seminary.

His doctoral research focused on how Christians in the elite circles of government, commerce, the arts and higher education are shaped by their vision of moral leadership.

People he interviewed included two presidents of the United States — Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush — as well as two dozen cabinet secretaries and senior White House staffers. They also included Hollywood movie producers, university presidents, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and members of the Forbes 400 wealthiest families.

Although many American evangelicals are not accustomed to thinking of themselves as among society’s elite, Lindsay told the Carroll Institute participants that, compared to the rest of the world and the broad sweep of human history, American Christians as a whole are “among the most wealthy people ever to walk the planet” and rightly could be classified as “the elite of the super-elite.”

So, they need biblical foundation for understanding how to use their influence and exercise authority for the greater good, he stressed. “The calling of Jesus on our lives means we are to use power to serve those who do not have it,” Lindsay said.

More than one-third of the leaders he interviewed mentioned service as the model for their leadership style, he noted. Servanthood demands working “not just for our own interests, but for the common good,” Lindsay emphasized…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/4630/53/

VERSE TO PONDER
“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39

CONSIDER
“I am weak; Satan is mighty; God is almighty.”
Unknown

CALIFORNIA CHURCH URGES MEMBERS, COMMUNITY TO READ ENTIRE NEW TESTAMENT TOGETHER
Sixty-three days. That’s how long the members and surrounding community of StoneBridge Community Church in Simi Valley, Calif., have to read the New Testament. At least that’s the goal of the New Testament Challenge.

The program, which started the first weekend in October, will see the church read the entire New Testament together and will incorporate Sunday sermons, small group study, individual reading and technology like Twitter and Facebook. It will conclude in mid-December with the church’s customary holiday service project.

Pastor the Rev. Jeff Cheadle is quick to point out that in spite of the short time frame, the challenge is not meant to make anyone feel pressured to keep up…. Read this in full at
http://www.pcusa.org/pcnews/2009/091059.htm

WATCH YOUR #$@&%!! MOUTH
by Brett McCracken
Cussing might be a bigger deal than you think. When I was in college, I wrote a newspaper piece about cursing. It was a two-page, 3,000 word story I had researched and worked on for a month. It covered all the angles of cursing from a Christian perspective, including insightful interviews with English and Anthropology professors, and even a survey of 100 students who reported on their cursing habits. My biggest finding in the article? Seniors were about 30% more likely to cuss on a daily basis than were freshman. And more likely to use the f- word on a daily basis. No big surprise. The language of Christian young people isn’t as pristine as it used to be.

The issue of language is, of course, a terribly complex one. Whole books could be written on the idea of cursing, profanity, expletives, what defines those terms, how cultural context affect language’s meaning, etc.

But I think the issue for Christians is pretty cut and dry: We should avoid using profanity; we should keep our cussing to the absolutely minimum, especially in public.
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/features/18139-watch-your-mouth

See also “Christian magazines’ sudden interest in swearing is late to the party — and misses the point”
http://www.patrolmag.com/opinion/1811/losing-their-salt

“ Swearing as the New Intellectualism”
http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2009/09/18/swearing-as-the-new-intellectualism/

“ Closing Thoughts on the Swearing Non-Issue”
http://www.patrolmag.com/fitzgerald/1816/closing-thoughts-on-the-swearing-non-issue

FAITH-BASED OBJECTIONS TO VACCINES MAY THREATEN COMMON GOOD
Most of the world’s religions share some version of the golden rule of treating others as you wish to be treated.

That notion was important to the theology of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Church of Christ, Scientist in 1879. But another central feature of Eddy’s theology—the belief that healing prayer renders medical care unnecessary—can be in conflict with the golden rule when it comes to infectious diseases such as pandemic flu.

That conflict played out at least five times between 1978 and 1994 in the St. Louis area, when measles outbreaks spread at two large Christian Science schools, killing three Christian Scientists and in some cases, moving beyond campus borders, sickening hundreds.

President Obama has declared the H1N1 virus (swine flu) a national emergency; it’s already sickened an estimated 22 million people and killed 4,000 nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though officials believe the wave of infections has likely peaked, doctors say the holiday combination of travel and family visits could increase cases of the virus. And as a swine flu pandemic looms, some bioethicists say members of religious groups who choose to forgo vaccines put their neighbors’ health at risk and threaten the common good…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/rnstext/faith_based_objections_to_vaccines_may_threaten_common_good/

WHAT DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE ABOUT HUMAN DIGNITY, DR. COLLINS?
The defense of human dignity is the responsibility of all human beings, but certain individuals bear a special responsibility due to position or influence. This is certainly the case with Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

Collins is one of the most influential scientists in America today. He previously headed the Human Genome Project — the massive federal project to decode the genetic structure of human life. President Barack Obama nominated Collins as director of the National Institutes of Health on July 8, 2009, and he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate just a month later. At the time, several leading scientists voiced their opposition to his nomination, citing concerns about Collins’s identification as an evangelical Christian. Several critics expressed particular concern about his position on the use of cells drawn from human embryos in stem cell research — an enterprise that falls under NIH supervision…. Read this in full at
http://www.albertmohler.com/2009/12/04/what-do-you-really-believe-about-human-dignity-dr-collins/?action=print&id=10629

PLANNED PARENTHOOD CLINIC DIRECTOR DETAILS TURN OF HEART ON ABORTION
Abby Johnson had never felt so alone. Sitting in her Planned Parenthood office and weeping, Johnson, who was raised Southern Baptist, knew God had called her to leave her job as director of the women’s health and abortion clinic and join forces with the Coalition for Life advocates just down the street.

The call was unmistakable. But the courage to take the step of faith to leave her job with no other prospects in sight — and invest herself in a movement that was diametrically opposed to the life she had lived the past eight years — was harder to muster.

Other than her husband Doug, she had no one she could confide in. Her co-workers, whom she considered friends, would not understand her decision. Christian ideals, Johnson said, often were mocked by the Planned Parenthood employees and the pro-choice advocates she knew. So she kept quiet.

She believed her church would not understand either. The Johnsons were members of an Episcopal church because they had been turned away from membership in the Baptist congregations they visited. She said some in those congregations made clear that she and her husband were welcome to attend worship services, but church membership was another matter…. Read this in full at
http://bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=31833

DIVORCE REDEFINED MARRIAGE, SOCIOLOGIST SAYS
In an extensive report titled “The Evolution of Divorce,” University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox explains how divorce redefined marriage in the latter quarter of the 20th century.

The article, published in the inaugural issue of the journal National Affairs this fall, traces the rise of divorce which began in 1969 when Gov. Ronald Reagan of California signed the nation’s first no-fault divorce bill, something he later would call one of the biggest mistakes in his political career.

The sexual revolution as well as scholars, therapists and journalists served as enablers for the divorce epidemic even as churches lost much of their moral authority to reinforce marital vows, said Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at UVA.

“The divorce revolution’s collective consequences for children are striking,” Wilcox wrote. “Taking into account both divorce and non-marital childbearing, sociologist Paul Amato estimates that if the United States enjoyed the same level of family stability today as it did in 1960, the nation would have 750,000 fewer children repeating grades, 1.2 million fewer school suspensions, approximately 500,000 fewer acts of teenage delinquency, about 600,000 fewer kids receiving therapy, and approximately 70,000 fewer suicide attempts every year.

“As Amato concludes, turning back the family-stability clock just a few decades could significantly improve the lives of many children,” Wilcox said.

Among the statistics Wilcox cited in his article:

— About 2/3 of divorces are legally initiated by women.

— In the early 1970s, 70% of married men and 67% of married women reported being very happy in their marriages; by the early ’80s, these figures had fallen to 63% for men and 62% for women. “So marital quality dropped even as divorce rates were reaching record highs,” Wilcox said.

— Marriage rates have fallen and cohabitation rates have surged in the wake of the divorce revolution as men and women’s faith in marriage has been shaken. About 40% of American children will spend some time in a cohabiting union, and 20% of babies are now born to cohabiting couples.

— The tide is starting to turn as views of marriage have been growing more conservative among elites but not among the poor and the less educated.

“Parents, churches, schools, public officials and the entertainment industry will have to do a better job of stressing the merits of a more institutional model of marriage,” Wilcox said, defining the institutional model as one that emphasizes sacrifice over individual fulfillment.
http://nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-evolution-of-divorce

THEOLOGIAN R.C. SPROUL EXPLAINS WHY HE DID NOT SIGN THE MANHATTAN DECLARATION
“On November 20, 2009, a document called the Manhattan Declaration was presented to the public by a coalition of cobelligerents. The document is concerned primarily with three very important biblical and cultural issues: the sanctity of life, the meaning of marriage, and the nature of religious liberty. Without question, these issues are up for grabs in our nation. As anyone familiar with my ministry will know, I share the document’s concern for defending the unborn, defining heterosexual marriage biblically, and preserving a proper relationship between church and state. However, when the document was sent to me and my signature was requested a few weeks ago, I declined to sign it.

“ In answer to the question, “R.C., why didn’t you sign the Manhattan Declaration?” I offer the following answer: The Manhattan Declaration confuses common grace and special grace by combining them. While I would march with the bishop of Rome and an Orthodox prelate to resist the slaughter of innocents in the womb, I could never ground that cobelligerency on the assumption that we share a common faith and a unified understanding of the gospel”…. Read this in full at
http://new.ligonier.org/blog/the-manhattan-declaration/

CAN CHRISTIANS BE CAPITALISTS?
“There is a major cultural schism developing in America. But it’s not over abortion, same-sex marriage or home schooling, as important as these issues are. The new divide centers on free enterprise — the principle at the core of American culture.”– Arthur Brooks, Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2009

Nowhere is this schism more visible than within American evangelicalism, especially among the rising generation of twenty-somethings and college students commonly referred to as “Millenials.” Left-leaning evangelical activists such as Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo criticize the capitalist system and argue that in a nation as wealthy as America the government can and should take care of the poor. These arguments resound with Millenials — whose values reflect as much care for child soldiers in Uganda as for unborn infants in their own hometowns.

What is missing from this discussion is a thoughtful consideration of whether the criticisms of free markets are actually valid. Is it possible that market-based solutions are the key to ending poverty, providing health care and education, and raising the standard of living for all? Jay W. Richards, author of Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem (HarperOne, 2009) lead a discussion of the way in which the free enterprise system can be used to meet the biblical mandates to alleviate poverty, care for the sick, and steward our environmental resources. Watch this video presentation at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GULQLNjTzM

RELIGION-BASED ARGUMENTS IN JUVENILE LIFE-WITHOUT-PAROLE CASES
by Joan Gottschall
Those interested in the intersection of religious values and public policy, and particularly criminal justice policy, should take note of a brief filed this past summer in the Supreme Court of the United States in the joined cases of Graham v. Florida, No. 08-7412, and Sullivan v. Florida, No. 08-7621, on behalf of approximately twenty religious organizations as amici curiae or friends of the Court (see endnotes for a full list of organizations). These two cases present the issue of whether the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment proscribes the sentencing of juveniles convicted of non-homicide offenses to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, as occurred in these two cases. Oral argument for the cases took place on Monday, Nov. 9.

The brief is noteworthy for a number of reasons. First, it represents an effort by the diverse religious groups involved to speak in one voice on a matter of faith and conviction. Second, the brief locates as central to each of these faith traditions the values of mercy, forgiveness and compassion, and the link between these values and concepts of justice and charity: “In short,” the brief states, “religious texts make clear that each of these three values–mercy, forgiveness, and compassion–must guide interpersonal and societal relations, and are to serve as the bedrock principles for a just and fair society.” Third, amici make the claim, rarely heard in contemporary culture, that the duty of a judge, and of a society imposing judgment, is to make adequate provision for these values.
http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/publications/sightings/archive_2009/1112.shtml

MY JOB HISTORY
My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned – couldn’t concentrate.

Then I worked in the woods as a lumberjack, but I just couldn’t hack it, so they gave me the ax.

After that I tried to be a tailor, but I just wasn’t suited for it, mainly because it was a so-so job.

Next I tried working in a muffler factory but that was too exhausting.

I attempted to be a deli worker, but any way I sliced it, I couldn’t cut the mustard.

My best job was being a musician, but eventually I found I wasn’t noteworthy.

I studied a long time to become a doctor, but I didn’t have any patience.

I became a professional fisherman, but discovered that I couldn’t live on my net income.

I managed to get a good job working for a pool maintenance company, but the work way just too draining.

I got a job at a zoo feeding giraffes, but I was fired because I wasn’t up to it.
After many years of trying to find steady work, I finally got a job as a historian until I realized there was no future in it.

My last job was working at Starbucks, but I had to quit because it was always the same old grind.

So, then I retired … and found out I was perfect for the job!
http://www.mikeysFunnies.com

CONSIDER
“To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it. But we must sail and not drift or lie at anchor.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes

VERSE TO PONDER
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
Psalm 1:1-2

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: THE ADVENT OF OUR GOD
Words: Charles Coffin, 1736; translated from Latin to English by John Chandler, 1837
Music: Samuel Wesley, 1837

The advent of our God
Our prayers must now employ,
And we must meet Him on His road
With hymns of holy joy.

The everlasting Son
Incarnate deigns to be;
Himself a servant’s form puts on
To set His people free.

Daughter of Zion, rise
To meet thy lowly King,
Nor let thy faithless heart despise
The peace He comes to bring.

As Judge, on clouds of light,
He soon will come again,
And all His scattered saints unite
With Him in Heaven to reign.

Before the dawning day
Let sin’s dark deeds be gone;
The old man all be put away,
The new man all put on.

All glory to the Son
Who comes to set us free,
With Father, Spirit, ever One,
Through all eternity.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/a/d/adventof.htm

ON PRAYER
“You can do more than pray after you have prayed; but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed.”
A.J. Gordon

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.

Dr. Tim Keller visits Google’s Mountain View, CA, headquarters to discuss, “The Reason for God”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxup3OS5ZhQ

Orbiting solar system animation
http://www.gunn.co.nz/astrotour/

Photos of unlikely animal friends
http://letsbefriends.blogspot.com/

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.)

Why was Santa’s little helper depressed? Because he had low elf-esteem.
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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