CONNECTIONS – 08/22/10

For week of August 22, 2010
Issue 318

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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Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

CONSIDER
Each of us, famous or infamous, is a role model for somebody, and if we aren’t, we should behave as though we are — cheerful, kind, loving, courteous. Because you can be sure someone is watching and taking deliberate and diligent notes.”
Maya Angelou

CLARK PINNOCK DIES AT 73
Clark H. Pinnock’s life journey is over. The influential and often controversial evangelical theologian died unexpectedly August 15 of a heart attack. He was 73. In March, the long-time professor of systematic theology at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, had announced he was withdrawing from public life and revealed that he was battling Alzheimer’s disease.

It was a difficult admission for a man whose mercurial mind and openness to the Holy Spirit led him to stake out theological positions that challenged evangelical orthodoxies. Renowned for exploring the frontiers of biblical truth, he was reputed to study carefully, think precisely, argue forcefully, and shift his positions willingly if he discovered a more fruitful pathway of understanding. He said he preferred to be known, “not as one who has the courage of his convictions, but one who has the courage to question them and to change old opinions which need changing.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/augustweb-only/43-22.0.html

See also: “Controversial theologian Clark Pinnock dies”
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/5451/53/

ONE MAN WILL TRY TO TWEET THE BIBLE OVER THREE YEARS
File this under “people with good intentions, a whole lot of commitment and an Internet connection.” A UK worship director has planned to tweet the Christian Bible — or summaries of each chapter, at least — from Genesis to Revelation, one chapter each day. The project started August 8 and will end on November 8, 2013. If you like, you can follow the account, @BibleSummary (http://twitter.com/BibleSummary)…. Read this in full at
http://mashable.com/2010/08/14/bible-on-twitter/

THE FINAL INTERVIEW OF C. S. LEWIS
by Sherwood Eliot Wirt
I drove to Cambridge, England, on May 7 [1963] to interview Mr. Clive Staples Lewis, author of The Screwtape Letters and one of the world’s most brilliant and widely read Christian authors. I hoped to learn from him how young men and women could be encouraged to take up the defense of the faith through the written word.

It was quickly evident that this interview was going to be different from any that I had ever been granted. I found Mr. Lewis in a wing of the brick quadrangle at Magdalene College, Cambridge University, where he is professor of Medieval and Renaissance literature. I climbed a flight of narrow, incredibly worn wooden steps, knocked at an ancient wooden door with the simple designation, “Prof. Lewis,” and was shown in by the housekeeper….

Wirt: In your book Surprised by Joy you remark that you were brought into the faith kicking and struggling and resentful, with eyes darting in every direction looking for an escape. You suggest that you were compelled, as it were, to become a Christian. Do you feel that you made a decision at the time of your conversion?

Lewis: “I would not put it that way. What I wrote in Surprised by Joy was that ‘before God closed in on me, I was offered what now appears a moment of wholly free choice.’ But I feel my decision was not so important. I was the object rather than the subject in this affair. I was decided upon. I was glad afterwards at the way it came out, but at the moment what I heard was God saying, ‘Put down your gun and we’ll talk.’” …. Read this in full at
http://www.cbn.com/special/Narnia/articles/ans_LewisLastInterviewA.aspx

WILL WE LEARN?
Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest:
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil and not to seek for rest;
To labor and not ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing that we do Thy will.

… St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491/5-1556), included in A Treasury of Sermon Illustrations, Charles Langworthy Wallis, ed., Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1950, [1548] p. 61

Q & A: ANNE RICE ON FOLLOWING CHRIST WITHOUT CHRISTIANITY
Author Anne Rice made waves across the Internet when she posted a short message on her Facebook page: “For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”

Rice returned to the Roman Catholic Church in 1998, a decision she began openly speaking about in 2005. She spoke with Christianity Today about her recent decision, the enormous response, and how she plans to follow Jesus outside the church.

Q: It’s been a few weeks since you made an announcement on Facebook. How have you felt since your decision?
A: I feel good and relieved about my decision, and I’ve felt a new spirit of energy creatively for my writing. I was so conflicted and disillusioned about organized religion that I couldn’t write.

Q: Do you think your decision will explicitly affect your writing?
A: I think my writings will go on being the writings of a believer in Christ. I think I’ll be less frustrated and freer to write about the full dimension of what that means. But I write metaphysical thrillers, and how this works out in fiction is always mysterious: characters confront dilemmas. The worldview of the novel is certainly optimistic and that of a believer. What character will say what, I don’t know until I start writing…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/augustweb-only/43-21.0.html

MY EVERY BLESSING
Grace was in the faces of our own children, floating crystal clear in my mind at the moment when I most despaired, when I was ready to take my own life. Grace was in my wife who wouldn’t give me over to self-destruction. Grace was even on the lips of my dying daughter, lips that named her brother, lips that reminded us, as we wept over her, that God says not to worry about tomorrow. Sometimes I wish I had a more secular answer, something that would make sense to every hurting person regardless of his religion or lack of it. But I don’t. I have only my own experience, a recognition that many others have lived out as well, that in this ferocious love for our children is the love of a God who calls us his own.

Grace is in the small places, just as the despair was. It’s in the way you wake in the dark of night and find that this person to whom you had become a stranger is clinging to you in her sleep, despite everything you’ve done. It’s finding that you can’t get out of bed for work until you have wrapped her in your arms, words not good enough, only this tight embrace coming close to explaining that she is life, that she is your one flesh. It’s in the peace that settles over the bed when she is close to you, and your children are sprawled this way and that, and everyone is quiet, as if listening to something far away, a hymn perhaps — streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise — and you think: Here is my every blessing.”
Tony Woodlief, in his book Somewhere More Holy

DO AMERICANS CHANGE FAITHS?
A multi-year study conducted by the Barna Group explores the percentage of Americans who report shifting to a different faith or significantly changing their faith views during their life. In the Barna study, the matter of faith switching was explored in several ways. First, respondents identified their childhood faith, if any, and then were asked to list their current faith allegiance. A comparison of the two answers showed that nearly one-quarter of adults (23%) had moved from one faith or faith tradition to another. This definition of faith change included those who switched from Catholic to Protestant and vice versa, but did not include those who changed from one Protestant denomination to another within the Protestant tradition. Overall, an additional 12% of adults had shifted affiliations but had not altered their Protestant orientation.

A second survey approach mirrored the findings of major faith change. Respondents to the same study were also asked if they had ever “changed to a different faith or significantly changed their faith views” or if they were “the same faith today as they were as a child.” Once again, about one-quarter of Americans (26%) said they had changed faith. Based on the research profile, these types of individuals were more likely than average to be women, divorced adults, residents of the Western states, atheists or agnostics, unchurched, and political independents…. Read this in full at
http://www.barna.org/faith-spirituality/412-do-americans-change-faiths

LISTENING
In his book Directions, author James Hamilton shares this insight about listening to God: “Before refrigerators, people used icehouses to preserve their food. Icehouses had thick walls, no windows and a tightly fitted door. In winter, when streams and lakes were frozen, large blocks of ice were cut, hauled to the icehouses and covered with sawdust. Often the ice would last well into the summer.

One man lost a valuable watch while working in an icehouse. He searched diligently for it, carefully raking through the sawdust, but didn’t find it. His fellow workers also looked, but their efforts, too, proved futile. A small boy who heard about the fruitless search slipped into the icehouse during the noon hour and soon emerged with the watch.

Amazed, the men asked him how he found it. I closed the door,” the boy replied, “lay down in the sawdust, and kept very still. Soon I heard the watch ticking.”

Often the question is not whether God is speaking, but whether we are being still enough and quiet enough to hear. Yes, Jesus assures us that our heavenly Father always listens to us, but do we really listen to God? Do we follow the instructions of Psalm 46, “Be still, and know that I am God”?
(Eric S. Ritz, Sermons.com)

KNOWING THE REAL JESUS CHANGES US, SCHOLAR SAYS
Jesus changed the lives of people in His day. And there is no reason to suppose that He cannot do the same today, said a New Testament professor. The problem, Rikk Watts highlighted, is that many Christians have become too familiar and comfortable with the Gospels.
Watts, who teaches at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, has been conducting lectures on the Gospel of Mark as part of a seminar at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Singapore. August 12, he showed some 200 pastors and Bible teachers just how outrageous Jesus’ claims and actions really were.

Here was a Jewish man in His 30s, the son of a carpenter, claiming to be Almighty God Himself, Watts elaborated. When people brought a paralyzed man before Him, He forgave the man’s sins. Jesus even read the thoughts of orthodox Jewish leaders present who took issue with His declaration…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100814/knowing-the-real-jesus-changes-us-scholar-says/index.html

JEWISH ARTIST TO DRAW ‘THE ULTIMATE PORTRAIT OF JESUS’
An artist who creates portraits made from dots is embarking on a work to involve at least one million people. David Ilan is asking that many people to sign up on his website by midnight Christmas Eve. Then on Christmas Day he plans to begin drawing a portrait of Jesus with each dot representing a person…. Read this in full at
http://www.dotsforjesus.com/

HOW TO THINK ABOUT THE REFORMATION AT 500
by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson (http://www.hereiwalk.org/)
Lutherans world-wide are already buzzing about 2017, the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, commonly regarded as the starting point of the Reformation. But no one’s quite sure about the right way to observe the occasion.

Should Lutherans celebrate the profound insights of a brilliant theologian into the gospel? Or should they lament the splintering of the Western church and the physical and spiritual intra-Christian wars that followed? Should Lutherans lord it over Catholics or should they apologize? Will Catholics ignore the anniversary and its significance altogether, or condemn it; or will they find a way to celebrate it too?

On top of all this, many believe, Christians are and remain in the grip of an “ecumenical winter.” Despite the high hopes for church reconciliation and even reunion through most of the 20th century, the past 25 years have seen waning interest in ecumenism on the popular level, and scandal and schism consuming the churches’ attention at the institutional level…. Read this in full at
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704868604575433283501270518.html

‘FORGET THE PIZZA PARTIES,’ TEENS TELL CHURCHES
“Bye-bye church. We’re busy.” That’s the message teens are giving churches today. Only about one in four teens now participate in church youth groups, considered the hallmark of involvement; numbers have been flat since 1999. Other measures of religiosity — prayer, Bible reading and going to church — lag as well, according to Barna Group, a Ventura, Calif., evangelical research company. This all has churches canceling their summer teen camps and youth pastors looking worriedly toward the fall, when school-year youth groups kick in.

“Talking to God may be losing out to Facebook,” says Barna president David Kinnaman.

“Sweet 16 is not a sweet spot for churches. It’s the age teens typically drop out,” says Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, which found the turning point in a study of church dropouts. “A decade ago teens were coming to church youth group to play, coming for the entertainment, coming for the pizza. They’re not even coming for the pizza anymore. They say, ‘We don’t see the church as relevant, as meeting our needs or where we need to be today.'”

“I blame the parents,”who didn’t grow up in a church culture, says Jeremy Johnston, executive pastor at First Family Church in Overland Park, Kan.

His megachurch would routinely take 600 teens to summer church camp, he says, “and many would be forever changed by that experience. But this summer we don’t even have a camp…. Read this in full at
http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-08-11-teenchurch10_ST_N.htm?csp=34news

HOW TO KNOW TRUTH AND EVALUATE COMPETING WORLDVIEWS
by Chris Daniel
Do we really have to say “This is true and that is false; this is right and that is wrong?” Why can’t everyone just be right? Chris Daniel’s article provides helpful insight and answers…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianity.com/home/christian%20living%20features/11636276/

THANK GOD FOR THE NEW ATHEISTS?
by Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Michael Dowd argues that Christians should thank God for the New Atheists. A self-styled “evangelist” for evolution, Dowd recently preached a sermon in Oklahoma City in which he called for nothing less than a rejection of biblical Christianity and the embrace of a spirituality rooted in an embrace of evolution and a rejection of the supernatural.

A few weeks ago, a reporter called me for comment after Dowd had made a similar argument on his Web site, “ThankGodforEvolution.com.” In more recent days, Dowd has responded directly to my comments. Without doubt, his argument deserves a closer look…. Read this in full at
http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/08/10/thank-god-for-the-new-atheists/

STUDY: FEW AMERICANS SAY FAITH IS TOP PRIORITY
A new study shows that the vast majority of Christians still identify with Christianity, but only a fraction say their faith is a “top priority” in their life. Almost 90% of Americans identify as Christian, but just 12% call it their highest priority, compared with 45% who say their family is most important.

“The gap is vast between self-described affiliation with Christianity and ascribing highest priority to that faith,” commented David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, in a statement. “When it comes to why so much of American religion seems merely skin-deep, this gap between what people call themselves and what they prioritize is perhaps most telling.” Other popular answers included health or a balanced lifestyle (20%) and financial or career success (17%)…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100726/studyfew-americans-say-faith-is-top-priority/index.html

DOES PRAYER MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE?
There is an immense difference between a worldview that is not able to answer every question to complete satisfaction and one whose answers are consistently contradictory. There is an even greater difference between answers that contain paradoxes and those that are systemically irreconcilable. Once again, the Christian faith stands out as unique in this test, both as a system of thought and in the answers it gives. Christianity does not promise that you will have every question fully answered to your satisfaction before you die, but the answers it gives are consistently consistent. There may be paradoxes within Christian teaching and belief, but they are not irreconcilable.

Often as a student I would read stories of revivals and their foundations of prayer, and I would think, That’s what I want to build my life on — the solid footing of prayer. My library is full of books on prayer. One would think that with each passing year the discipline of prayer would get easier, but in fact it doesn’t. Whether early in the morning or late at night, it is always a challenge. But as God has proved himself, I have had several different experiences in which I sensed God’s very clear answer within my spirit. There is no doubt in my heart that prayer makes a difference in anyone’s life.”
Ravi Zacharias, in his book Has Christianity Failed You?

METHODISTS STUDY THE HALLMARKS OF HEALTHY CHURCHES
What is the key to a healthy church? United Methodists have paid big bucks to find out. As the sour economy and aging buildings wreak havoc on church budgets, United Methodists are trying to get ahead of the problem and assess the health of their congregations in a bid to reverse declining fortunes.

The church recently concluded a study of more than 32,000 Methodist congregations across North America, seeking the “key factors impacting vital congregations.” The study surveyed everybody from bishops to district superintendents to people in the pews.

Working with New York-based Towers Watson consultants, researchers constructed a “vitality index” to measure each church and concluded “that all kinds of UMC churches are vital — small, large, across geographies, and church setting.”

The report identified four key areas that fuel vitality: small groups and programs; worship services that mix traditional and contemporary styles with an emphasis on relevant sermons; pastors who work hard on mentorship and cultivation of the laity; and an emphasis on effective lay leadership…. Read this in full at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/19/methodists-study-the-hall_n_651976.html

HOSPITALS REVAMP CHAPELS INTO MEDITATION ROOMS
When Connie Johnstone saw relatives of Muslim patients praying in a hospital parking lot, or laying out a plastic bag to create a clean spot on the lobby floor, her visions of a meditation room suddenly got a lot broader.

“I took note of that and said, `Hey, we need to have a place” for them to pray, said Johnstone, the former manager of spiritual care at Kaiser Permanente facilities in Sacramento and suburban Roseville, who now holds a similar position in San Jose.

Johnstone wanted to create a space “that calls up beauty, something that is quiet to still the spirit” for patients, visitors and staff. She also wanted to accommodate the region’s diverse religious and cultural rituals.

Johnstone created three meditation rooms, the first of which opened this month (July) in Sacramento. The other two, in Roseville 30 miles to the northeast, are expected to open later this year…. Read this in full at
http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2010/07/hospitals-revamp-chapels-into.php

VERSE TO PONDER
I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.”
Psalm 119:30

CONSIDER
Ultimately, faith is the only key to the universe. The final meaning of human existence, and the answers to the questions on which all our happiness depends cannot be found in any other way.”
Thomas Merton

STUDY FINDS PRAYER AIDS RELATIONSHIPS
The old adage “couples who pray together stay together” may be true, especially for African-Americans, a new study shows. The survey of religion, race and relationships found that African-Americans attend church more as couples compared to members of other racial and ethnic groups.

Four in 10 African-American respondents said they attended services regularly as a couple, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family. In comparison, 31% of Mexicans or Mexican-Americans, and 29% of whites, said they regularly shared a pew.
“Without prayer, black couples would be doing significantly worse than white couples,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, a co-author of the study and the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. “The vitality of African-Americans’ religious lives gives them an advantage over other Americans when it comes to relationships. This advantage puts them on par with other couples.” In addition to worshipping together, African-Americans were found to be more likely than non-Hispanic whites to participate in prayer and Scripture studies at home.

In general, researchers found that people in same-faith relationships and partners who attended services regularly were more satisfied with their relationship…. Read this in full at
http://www.headlinebistro.com/hb/en/news/prayeraid.html

CHURCHES START THEIR OWN HUMANITARIAN AID AGENCIES
For years, projects like microfinance ventures were the provenance of large faith-based aid agencies and de-nominations. But as American Christians grow more skeptical and less dependent on traditional institutions, individual churches are starting their own humanitarian aid organizations, doing their own projects on their own terms.

Part of the emerging church environment is that everything is re-examined,” said David Gushee, a professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University.

Nearly 30% of all American Christian teenagers participate in some form of a short-term missions trip, according to recent estimates. By the time those teenagers are old enough to lead churches, many are “confident that they can navigate international arenas without having to rely on somebody else,” Gushee said.

Churches also are making their own spending decisions. The 1,250 or more megachurches in the U.S. spend, on average, nearly $700,000 a year on foreign missions and aid programs, said Robert Priest, a foreign missions expert at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill…. Read this in full at
http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11391&Itemid=53

MORE THAN 1,000 ACCEPT CHRIST DURING STURGIS BIKE RALLY
Soft breezes and sun filter along the Black Hills near Custer, SD, to fill a rustic camp at the edge of town. As evening settles, pastor Jeff “Noose” Nuzziard performs a sound check for a band from Nixa, Mo.

Bikers find a space in the grass to relax and listen after a long day of riding and sightseeing in the region. More than 600,000 bikers rolled into Sturgis, SD, Aug. 9-15 for the 70th Annual Sturgis Rally, the biggest biker party in the country. But the clean and sober Jazer Camp a few miles outside Custer offered a different tenor from the free-for-all in other parts of the Black Hills.

For $10 a night bikers get a place to park their ride and pitch their tent, and they’re provided two good meals a day and good bands playing into the evening. Lodging is at a premium during the rally, as are locations where drugs, sex and alcohol don’t flow freely. This makes the Set Free camp an ideal respite for weary road warriors…. Read this in full at
http://bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=33528

GAY DEBATE MIRRORS CHURCH DISPUTE, SPLIT ON SLAVERY
by Daniel Burke
One group of Christians confidently proclaims that a plain reading of the Bible is a slam dunk in their favor. The other side appeals to Scripture’s grand narrative toward freedom and inclusive love.

The argument boils over and ripples through the wider culture. The search for middle ground proves futile. Denominations break apart.

Sound familiar? It could be 2010 — or the mid-19th century.

As US churches and denominations slog through divisive and long-running arguments over homosexuality, many Protestant progressives have sought to claim the historical and moral high ground by aligning their cause with abolitionism…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/rnstext/gay_debate_mirrors_church_dispute_split_on_slavery/

ANABAPTISTS IN THE REAL WORLD
Rhoda Janzen’s life is the stuff of a riveting, albeit unfortunate, tale. She survived a car crash, realized her husband was gay and sought refuge in her parents’ Mennonite home for a string of hilarious, healing weeks.

Her memoir, “Mennonite in a Little Black Dress,” was published last year, part of a string of “going home” memoirs by women who left the Anabaptist faith of their childhood for love, opportunities or because of tensions in the community.

Anabaptists — the religious umbrella that includes the Amish, Mennonites and Hutterites — have captured media attention for shunning the outside world, technology and modern clothing. But the recent books are not tales of horse and buggy, of bonnets and broad brims, or even a removed society…. Read this in full at
http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Anabaptists-in-the-real-world-580437.php

CIVIL WAR RE-ENACTOR’S FAITH NO ACT
From his Old Testament beard down to his scuffed boots and battered Bible, Alan Farley looks the perfect picture of a Civil War chaplain.

On a dusty field five miles from where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought 147 years ago, Farley acts the part as well, thundering sermons from his homemade pulpit, praying with bedraggled soldiers, and handing out tracts with titles like “Everlasting Punishment.”

The thousands of soldiers and spectators at the Gettysburg Civil War Battle Re-enactment in early July could be forgiven for swallowing the chaplain’s performance – the tracts look aged, the religion old time.

But it is no act, says Farley, it is a divine calling. For 26 years, Farley has driven thousands of miles, distributed millions of pages of tracts and delivered hundreds of sermons – all for one mission: bringing Civil War re-enactors to Jesus…. Read this in full at
http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_15533851

NEW CHURCH BODY WILL BE FORMED FOR LUTHERANS IN NORTH AMERICA
More than 1,000 Lutherans from throughout North America will gather Aug. 26-27 to form a new church body for confessional Lutherans. The annual Convocation of Lutheran CORE will adopt a constitution to officially form the new North American Lutheran Church (NALC) after splitting from its more liberal parent church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Lutheran CORE leaders note that the problems in the ELCA are really not about sexual behavior but rather about an ongoing movement away from the authority and teaching of the Bible throughout the ELCA. “It was not our choice to leave the ELCA, but the ELCA has chosen to reject ‘the faith once delivered to the saints,’ so now we are acting to maintain our position within the consensus of the Church catholic,” said Ryan Schwarz of Washington, D.C., chair of Lutheran CORE’s Vision and Planning Working Group…. Read this in full at
http://christiannewswire.com/news/1388814734.html

JONI AND FRIENDS DISABILITY COURSES GAINING POPULARITY
Studies in the area of disability and suffering have long been neglected in academia, according to Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability (CID). The group founded by Christian author and disability advocate Joni Eareckson Tada, has set out to change that, and is succeeding in creating a movement in this field.

“We just completed our largest course yet, called ‘Beyond Suffering,’ and are looking at expanding to two summer sessions next year,” said course instructor and CID Managing Director Steve Bundy. “Our goal is to transform the view many Christians have about disability ministry,” Bundy continues. “We’re finding a hunger among the students, as well as leaders, to understand God’s plan for suffering, which is creating a grass-roots disability ministry movement around the world. This year alone we’ve led courses in seven countries.”

“For Joni,” says Mark Earley, on the daily radio program BreakPoint with Chuck Colson, “helping create better access and equal opportunities for the disabled was never about political correctness or government expansion. It was about something that goes much deeper than that: shaping a society that reflects and embraces the God-given value of each human being. It’s about demonstrating in practical terms what it means to honor, respect, and care for the ones Jesus might have called ‘the least of these my brethren’-the ones who need a little assistance from the rest of us.”
http://www.joniandfriends.org/christian-institute-on-disability/

EARLY PUBERTY HAS SPIRITUAL IMPLICATIONS
Some girls are reaching the onset of puberty at an earlier age than in the past, according to a new study; and parents and churches can play key roles in helping such girls mature emotionally and spiritually, Christian experts say.

The study, which appears in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics, examined 1,239 girls ages 6 to 8 and found that 10% of whites, 23% of blacks, and 15% of Hispanic girls had breast development by age 7.

Earlier development, the researchers said, puts girls at higher risk for behavioral problems as adolescents and for breast cancer as adults. The risk of cancer increases with a longer lifetime exposure to the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Bill Cutrer, professor of Christian ministry at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says the study is credible and has implications for ministry. “Some of the references cited in this Pediatrics article found an association between earlier maturation and lower self esteem, worse body image, eating problems, suicide attempts, depression, influence by ‘deviant peers,’ earlier sex and earlier norm breaking behaviors,” Cutrer said. Churches can help girls appreciate themselves as made in the image of God and help them view their bodies as gifts and use them as temporary vessels for His glory, he said. It’s also important to have conversations with boys about how to interact with girls…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=33535

GOD AND IMMIGRATION REFORM
by Richard Land
The immigration crisis is tearing the social fabric of our nation in ways that are far easier to rend than they are to mend. The furor roused across the country by the passage of the Arizona law is symptomatic of the passions raised and the mistrust sown by an immigration crisis that has reached “critical mass”.

People of faith should join to work for fair, just, comprehensive federal immigration reform that embodies the principles enunciated in the National Association of Evangelical’s 2009 resolution, which proclaimed that any immigration reform legislation must:
* Respect the God-given dignity of every person
* Protect the unity of the immediate family
* Respect the rule of law
* Guarantee secure national borders
* Ensure fairness to taxpayers
* Establish a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and wish to become permanent residents.

What would the contours and outline of comprehensive immigration legislation based on these biblical principles look like? …. Read this in full at
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2010-08-16-column16_ST_N.htm

DUTCH EUTHANASIA CASES UP 13% LAST YEAR
The number of reported Dutch cases of euthanasia or assisted suicide rose 13% last year, the government said on Wednesday, spurring talk of a possible “euthanasia hospital” to help people end their lives. The annual report of the regional commissions that oversee the Netherlands’ euthanasia law said there were 2,636 cases in 2009, the vast majority of them euthanasia, or “mercy killing“, as opposed to assisted suicide, or helping someone to die.

That represented about 2% of all Dutch deaths last year, based on figures from Statistics Netherlands. Of the cases, slightly over 80% were cancer patients and more than 80% of the deaths occurred in the patient’s home…. Read this in full at
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/europe/article1669211.ece

ATHEISTS CAMPAIGN FOR ‘RIGHT’ TO BLASPHEME RELIGION
International Blasphemy Day has been renamed the International Blasphemy Rights Day in what organizers say is a bid to show they are not interested in “mocking religion” for its own sake. “There was a lot of controversy last year that we were doing what we were doing simply in the interest of mocking religion,” said Nathan Bupp, a spokesman for Center for Inquiry, the group sponsoring the day. “That, indeed, is not the case.” Bupp says this name change better describes the purpose of the event amidst criticism received after last year’s inaugural events. “Religious beliefs should be on the same level of political beliefs,” said Ronald Lindsay, president and CEO of CFI. “Blasphemy is often, unfortunately, associated with crude criticism of believers. But our focus is on looking at the beliefs,” he says. This year’s events are scheduled for Sept. 30…. Read this in full at
http://pewforum.org/Religion-News/RNS-Atheists-campaign-for-right-to-blaspheme-religion.aspx

CONSIDER
We can often do more for other men by correcting our own faults than by trying to correct theirs.”
Author Unknown

VERSE TO PONDER
If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
1 John 1:7

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: THERE WERE TWELVE DISCIPLES
Words: Author unknown; the lyrics were apparently written to help children memorize the disciples’ names.
Music: George A. Minor, 1880

There were twelve disciples Jesus called to help him:
Simon Peter, Andrew, James, his brother John,
Philip, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus,
Thaddeus, Simon, Judas, and Bartholomew.
He has called us, too. He has called us, too.
We are His disciples, I am one and you!
He has called us, too. He has called us, too.
We are His disciples, I am one and you!

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/t/w/twere_12.htm

ON PRAYER
To live in prayer together is to walk in love together.”
Margaret Moore Jacobs

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.

NATO Phonetic Alphabet
http://www.dynamoo.com/technical/phonetic.htm

Color Photography from Russia in the Early 1900s
http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2009/10/21/color-photography-from-russian-in-the-early-1900s/comment-page-4/

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.)

In just two days from now, tomorrow will be yesterday.
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 in Chicago, IL.
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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