CONNECTIONS – 10/17/10

For week of October 17, 2010
Issue 326

The weekly 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.

Today’s issue is going out to 2,075 weekly subscribers. Thank you in advance for forwarding this issue to friends, family and associates! To have a friend start their own Free subscription to CONNECTIONS, please have them visit: http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/page33.html
or subscribe via rss feed here:
http://www.connectionsnews.wordpress.com/feed


I will exalt you, O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit.”
Psalm 30:1-3

CONSIDER
“Our love for God is tested by the question of whether we seek Him or His gifts.”
Ralph W. Sockman

END OF CHRISTIAN AMERICA IS GOOD, SAYS YOUNG EVANGELICAL
As a product of separatist Christianity, young evangelical leader Gabe Lyons says he is excited about the death of the current American Christianity and the rise of the “Next Christians” that will replace it.

In his new book, The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America, Lyons paints an optimistic future for Christianity in America. While the current system of Christianity in America is dying, he writes, a new generation of Christians that seeks to restore the world as God intended is rising.

These “restorers” see the whole Bible story: creation, fall, salvation, and kingdom of God. For too long, Lyons contends, Christianity in America has only told part of the story –- the fall (sin) and salvation -– but failed to tell the grand narrative. As a result, Christianity in America has been dominated by a sense of us (Christians) against them (secular world), and promotes the narrow view that conversion is the only mission on Earth. While saving souls is indisputably important, Lyons contends, Jesus also calls on Christians to restore the broken things to how it ought to be.

“The next generation [of Christians] understands restoration as connected to the gospel. They are motivated by the fact that Jesus restored their own soul and is constantly in the process of restoring them,” explained Lyons in a recent interview. “That is driving them to go out in the world to fix things that they come into contact with that are broken.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20101012/end-of-christian-america-is-good-news-says-young-evangelical/

NEW BARNA REPORT EXAMINES DIVERSITY OF FAITH IN VARIOUS USA CITIES
There is little debate that most Americans are faith-oriented people. Yet how does spirituality and religion differ from one city to the next? A Barna Group study of regional and city-level expressions of faith both confirms and rejects many popular stereotypes about faith and religion in America. The findings -– drawn from a newly released pair of reports from Barna Group, titled Markets 2011 and States 2011 -– are based on nearly 40,000 interviews conducted over the last seven years by Barna Group.

The cities (measured in the Barna research as media markets) with the highest proportion of residents who describe themselves as Christian are typically in the South, including: Shreveport (98%), Birmingham (96%), Charlotte (96%), Nashville (95%), Greenville, SC / Asheville, NC (94%), New Orleans (94%), Indianapolis (93%), Lexington (93%), Roanoke-Lynchburg (93%), Little Rock (92%), and Memphis (92%).

The lowest share of self-identified Christians inhabited the following markets: San Francisco (68%), Portland, Oregon (71%), Portland, Maine (72%), Seattle (73%), Sacramento (73%), New York (73%), San Diego (75%), Los Angeles (75%), Boston (76%), Phoenix (78%), Miami (78%), Las Vegas (78%), and Denver (78%). Even in these cities, however, roughly three out of every four residents align with Christianity.

An interesting difference is the markets that tend toward skepticism about religion in general -– including Portland, Maine (19% of the population identify as being atheist or agnostic), Seattle (19%), Portland, Oregon (16%), Sacramento (16%), and Spokane (16%) -– as compared to markets that have a high proportion of faiths other than Christianity represented -– including New York (12%), San Francisco (11%), West Palm Beach (10%), Baltimore (8%), Denver (8%), Los Angeles (8%), Portland, Oregon (8%), and Miami (8%)…. Read this in full at
http://www.barna.org/faith-spirituality/435-diversity-of-faith-in-various-us-cities

RELIGIOUS TALK LEADS TO LITTLE CHANGE, BARNA FINDS
A surge in communications technology in the past decade has expanded religious dialogue, but the discussions have led to little change in people’s lives, The Barna Group found in a recent survey.

When asked, “Has anything related to your religious beliefs, practices or preferences changed in the past five years?” just 7% of respondents could think of anything that had changed.

The types of people most likely to have changed included 13% of young adults, 12% of independent voters, and 11% of adults who describe themselves as “mostly liberal” on social and political matters, Barna said in a report Sept. 27.

Those least likely to have changed included people age 65 and over, registered Republicans and social conservatives.

George Barna said the survey results raise questions about the impact of church-related activity, such as whether “the courses of action currently pursued are capable of facilitating and reinforcing significant change.”…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=33799

HOPELESS PRAYER: WHAT THE RESCUE OF THE CHILEAN MINERS DIDN’T TEACH ME
by Mark Galli
Answers to my prayers happen so rarely that I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED, when they happen. I’m not talking about everyday prayers — for safe travels or healing from a cold. God seems to take care of travelers and colds whether I pray for them or not. I’m talking about prayers for things I really care about, people I’m really worried about — that a friend might come to know Jesus, that a loved one will be healed of cancer, that a relative will give up drugs. There seems to be an inverse prayer corollary in my life: the more important the prayer, the less likely it will be answered. But indeed, once in a while a big prayer is answered—like the college friend who became a Christian, or a church member who was healed of cancer—and my jaw drops and my eyes fill with tears. I’m astounded, again, that God would answer prayer…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/octoberweb-only/51-31.0.html

2 CHILEAN MINERS ACCEPT CHRIST WHILE TRAPPED UNDERGROUND
José Henríquez lead a small group of men in prayer every evening in northern Chile — 2,300 feet below the surface of the earth.

For more than two months, 33 Chilean miners were trapped beneath the desert floor in a chamber the size of a living room. A partial collapse blocked the mine exit Aug. 5.

When the mine collapsed, three of the miners — including Henríquez — were Christians. Since then, two more of them have made professions of faith…. Read this in full at
http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/BPnews.asp?ID=33842

THE STORY BEHIND THE CHILEAN MINERS’ JESUS T-SHIRTS
As miners were being pulled from Chile’s San Jose mine Wednesday, most were wearing tan T-shirts over their coveralls. The Chilean government told reporters the green coveralls were designed to help absorb the sweat as they ascended to the top.

But a CNN editor/producer in Atlanta wondered why the miners were wearing the T-shirt over their coveralls. He noticed a logo on the T-shirt’s the left sleeve for the Jesus Film Project…. Read this in full at
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/14/the-story-behind-the-chilean-miners-jesus-t-shirts/

CHILEAN MINERS SAY ‘THANK YOU, LORD’ FOR THEIR RESCUE
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=33863

CALLED TO LOVE THE GAY COMMUNITY
by Ron Sider
Andrew Marin, the author of the powerful book Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community (InterVarsity Press, 2009), has an incredible story. After his first year at a prominent evangelical university, three of his best (Christian) friends told him they were gay/lesbian. In response, Marin, a straight, thoroughly evangelical Christian, felt called by God to immerse himself in the gay and lesbian community. He decided to spend almost all his free time there, listening and learning. He now lives with his wife in Boystown, a GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered) neighborhood in Chicago. For most of the last decade, he has spent thousands of hours listening to, weeping with, and befriending these folks, trying to see the world from their perspective.”…. Read this in full at
http://www.esa-online.org/Article.asp?RecordKey=50A67964-3113-4E76-A4F0-A8423E8B7750

HALLOWEEN: HONOR THE WITNESSES OF ALL SAINTS’ DAY INSTEAD
by Chuck Colson
It is Halloween again, and to be frank, I really don’t look forward to talking about it on “BreakPoint” every year. At best, Halloween has become an excuse to ask total strangers for candy. At worst, it is a celebration of the mindless paganism our ancestors wisely turned their backs on.

So this year, I would like to turn your attention to the often-overlooked celebration that Halloween calls to mind. In case you have missed it before, the name Halloween is a shortening of All Hallow’s Eve and signifies the night before All Saints’ Day.

For centuries on All Saints’ Day the Church celebrated the lives of Christians who went before us. And rightly so: We can learn so much from those whom the author of Hebrews calls that great cloud of witnesses. The tradition of remembering the Church triumphant dates back to the time of the first Christian martyrs.

When soldiers of Marcus Aurelius Verus came to arrest Polycarp, a beloved church leader, Polycarp greeted them kindly. According to the third century historian Eusebius, Polycarp “ordered a table to be laid for them immediately, invited them to eat as much as they liked, asking in return a single hour in which he could pray.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianity.com/home/christian%20living%20features/11583549/

5 KINDS OF DOUBTERS (WHICH KIND ARE YOU?)
“‘Some people think that faith means a lack of doubt, but that’s not true’ [says Lynn Anderson]. ‘One of my favorite Bible texts is about the man who comes to Jesus with his demon-possessed son, hoping that the boy would get healed. Jesus says all things are possible to those who believe. And the man’s response is so powerful. He says, ‘I believe, but would you help me with my unbelief?’…

“There are lots of different kinds of doubters, Lynn Anderson told me. Some are rebellious, even though they may not identify themselves that way. They have the attitude, ‘I’m not going to let somebody run my life or do my thinking’…

“Then there are people whose doubts stem from their disappointment with God. Like the girl I visited with yesterday. God says, ‘Seek and ask,’ but she’s asked and he hasn’t given. So she’s wrestling with uncertainty. Was God serious? Was he even there?

“Others have personal or family wounds. I talked a few weeks ago with a lady who underwent physical abuse from her mom and dad who were deeply religious… I can see why she’s got a problem with God! Others have been personally hurt in the sense of being rejected by a mate or their business has gone south or their health has gone bad. They’re wondering, ‘If there’s a God, why does this stuff happen?’

“Then there are the intellectual doubts. This was where I was at. I was doing my best to intellectually undergird my faith, but there were people a lot smarter than me who didn’t believe in God. I started to think, ‘Is faith only for the brilliant? How can faith be so important to God, and yet you’ve got to have an IQ of 197 to hang onto it?’

“Seasons of life can make a big difference. Sometimes people are… working 60 hours a week and the boss is on their back — they simply don’t have time to reflect. And I don’t think faith can develop without some contemplative time. If they don’t make room for that, their faith is not going to grow and doubts will creep in.”
Lee Strobel, in the book Faith (Visual Edition)

CAN “COOL” AND CHRISTIANITY COEXIST?
by Brett McCracken
Hipsterdom is a significant cultural phenomenon with implications for all sorts of things. “Hipster” is just the latest, most consolidated iteration of the notion of being cool/elite/fashionable. As such, it serves as a convenient entry point for a crucial discussion of what all of this means for Christianity, which to outside observers probably seems about as far from “cool/hipster” as possible.

What does it mean that “hipster Christianity” exists? Should we be alarmed and unnerved by the marriage of seemingly competing aims: following Christ and being cool? Or are there good things “hipster” has done for Christianity? Well, yes…. Read this in full at
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/features/22670-the-gospel-according-to-hipsters

HITCHENS BROTHERS DEBATE IF CIVILIZATION CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT GOD
Brothers Christopher and Peter Hitchens squared off Oct. 12 in a debate over whether civilization can survive without God. Christopher, the older of the two, is a renowned atheist thinker and author. Peter, the lesser known of the two, is a practicing Christian and also a well-regarded author.

Christopher Hitchens is going through a very public battle with cancer, a subject that came up often during the debate. Michael Cromartie from the Ethics and Public Policy Center, moderated the debate and mentioned Christopher, who lives in the District of Columbia, was attending in between doctor appointments. Peter Hitchens had flown in from England specifically for the lunchtime debate.

Christopher Hitchens arrived with a white straw Panama hat. Beneath the hat he has no hair, lost from cancer treatments. Though noticeably thinner, Hitchens did not seem to suffer any intellectual consequences from his treatment…. Read this in full and watch a video clip at
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/13/hitchens-brothers-square-off-in-debate-over-god-in-civilization/

BLAIR TO DEBATE HITCHENS ABOUT RELIGION’S GOODNESS
Since one of them is one of most self-publicized atheists in the Western world and the other is arguably the most famous living convert to the Roman Catholic Church, there may not be much of a meeting of minds. Yet Tony Blair has agreed to share a platform with the British-born journalist, Christopher Hitchens, to argue over whether religion is a good thing generally, or not.

Mr Blair and Mr Hitchens will go head-to-head in Toronto, where Mr Blair has fewer enemies, and the Iraq war is less of an issue. Iraq is also one of comparatively few issues on which he and Mr Hitchens agree. Mr Hitchens has consistently praised Mr Blair’s willingness to send British troops to combat dictators, in Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Iraq.

On the question of religion, however, they are so far apart that the organizers revised the original idea of having them debate whether God exists. Instead, Mr Blair will speak in favor of the motion: “Be it resolved, religion is a force of good for the world.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/blair-to-do-god-in-debate-with-hitchens-2104995.html

WHO ARE EVANGELICALS?
by Ken Camp
When evangelist Billy Graham, social activist Jim Wallis, pastor Rick Warren, theologian Al Mohler and author Brian McLaren all can fit under the umbrella term “evangelical,” some theological and cultural observers wonder if the term has lost its meaning.

On the right, some have embraced engagement with evangelicals in conservative Christian political concerns, but they question how long their denomination can maintain fellowship with a movement with such broad parameters.

On the other hand, some who hold to strict separation of church and state have shied away from the term “evangelical” because they believe it has been co-opted by the Religious Right. That tendency could be seen early in a 1976 Newsweek magazine cover story, “Born Again! The Year of the Evangelicals.” In it, a noted Southern Baptist ethicist and agency head emphatically sought to distance himself and his denomination from the growing movement…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/5762/53/

NATIONAL CONVERSATION – THE UNIVERSITY & THE PUBLIC SQUARE 10/22
Indiana Wesleyan University realizes the need to convene national conversations about the great issues we face in our time. Reflecting its mission, these conversations will take place in a Christ-centered context that is irenic, non-defensive, non-aggressive, and welcoming of all perspectives. Through these national conversations (http://nationalconversations.com/), it is hoped that academic institutions and their various partners, especially publishers in various media, will identify several topics for in-depth research, teaching, and consulting. For many institutions, this series will provide valuable insights for prioritizing the creation and/or enhancing of high-quality research centers and initiatives. Each of the national conversations will be filmed and recorded in various formats, adding to the new knowledge base in various ways. Read more about this at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/lyris/eblast/archives/2010/ctdirect-iwu-101310.html

THE NEW CALVINS: TENSIONS INSIDE THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION
The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant group in America. It claims about 16 million members, and long ago spread beyond its geographical origins to every state in the union. But since around 1990 the denomination has been losing ground, relative to America’s population, to other evangelical churches. So a cadre of Young Turks are looking back to the 16th century for fresh inspiration.

According to Lifeway Research, the SBC’s statistical arm, 10% of all SBC pastors now identify themselves as Calvinists. And that proportion could well rise; a third of recent graduates from SBC seminaries espouse doctrines that hark back to the reformer John Calvin, with the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, a particular source. The SBC evicted its theological liberals back in the 1980s; now, war has been joined between the conservatives.

Calvinism emphasizes that Jesus died only for the elect; Baptists believe Jesus died for everyone. Baptists, by definition, believe that baptism must be an informed choice by the individual; Calvinists believe infants may be baptized. Calvinists think that God selects certain people for damnation; Baptists are more easy-going…. Read this in full at
http://www.economist.com/node/17204934?story_id=17204934

10 MINUTES WITH JONI EARECKSON TADA
Disability advocate Joni Eareckson Tada, long known as an evangelical icon and a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic who paints with a brush between her teeth, has faced a range of challenges since a diving accident left her paralyzed in 1967. Now she’s facing another: breast cancer.

Tada, who turned 61 on Oct. 15, is undergoing chemotherapy and recently completed a new book, “A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty.”

Q: You have gone through a number of medical challenges—quadriplegia, chronic pain, and now breast cancer. What are some basic lessons you have learned about suffering?
A: It’s good not to simply resign yourself to it. It’s also good not to submit or yield to it with its overtones of `Oh, poor me. I give up. I give in” and not even coping or adjusting.

I think the key is to embrace what the Bible calls in Romans 12:2 a “good and acceptable and perfect will” from God. The only way to really let it do its work, and allow God to have his way, is to embrace and find God in the midst of suffering…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/tenminutes/10_minutes_with_joni_eareckson_tada1/

GOSPEL TWEETS
by Tullian Tchividjian
I’ve been called a Twitter-holic. I jokingly tell people that I’ve finally found my calling-that God has hardwired me for 140 characters. In all seriousness, it’s been a huge blessing for me. I love words. I love turns of phrases. I think in sentences. I once heard John Piper say that books don’t change people, sentences do. I believe that. I’ve also heard that the Ancient Greeks believed the goal of oratory was to give a sea of matter in a drop of language. I like that-and tweeting helps me put that into practice. Twitter challenges me to communicate the gospel in concise ways-in short sentences. It’s also a great tool for me personally as I’ve come to use it as a way to catalog my gospel thoughts and quotes. It’s become a way for me to “journal” what God’s teaching me about the gospel.
You can now find a small sampling of my gospel tweets in the collection below. I pray these sentences would change you the way they’ve changed me and that the Lord would use these fallible insights to help you preach the gospel to yourself every day:

* The gospel doesn’t simply ignite the Christian life; it’s the fuel that keeps Christian’s going and growing every day.
* The gospel reminds us that we become more mature when we focus less on what we need to do for God and more on all God has already done for us.
* The gospel tells me my identity and security is in Christ-this frees me to give everything I have because in Christ I have everything I need…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianity.com/blogs/Tchividjian/11639051/

CONFERENCE OF BIBLICAL, MIDDLE EAST SCHOLARS DRAWS INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCE
Chosen People Ministries hosted more than 1,700 people at The Moody Church in Chicago on October 1-2 for the Inside the Middle East Crisis Conference (http://www.chosenpeople.com/main/index.php/conference-information) and proudly deem the event a success in a new report. Tasked with presenting the Middle East crisis through a biblical lens, speakers including Joel C. Rosenberg and Dr. Erwin Lutzer joined together to uphold the biblical promise of the Land of Israel and to address the current challenges of the Evangelical church in the Middle East.

“The conference reaffirmed the need to reach all people with the Gospel of Jesus the Jewish Messiah, and gave all 1,700 attendees the opportunity to join with international experts in discussion of and prayer for peace between Israel and Palestine,” said Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries and author of the report…. Read the report in full at
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/57299766/Inside-the-Middle-East-Crisis-Conference-Wrap-up-Report

ASTRONAUT SHARES FAITH AT CAMPBELLSVILLE
When the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded in 2003, NASA astronaut Leland Melvin rushed to the home of his friend David Brown, who had been killed in the disaster.

He talked with Brown’s wheelchair-ridden father, who told Melvin he had to carry on Brown’s legacy of space flight. Today, Melvin can say he has done that — but not without obstacles and God’s help.

“When you see your astronaut friends perish, it changes you,” Melvin said in an interview at Campbellsville University. “It makes you resolve to do things differently and to make a difference in the world.

“My flying in space was my mission — to be a testimony to the world and an assignment from the divine,” Melvin said…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=33835

LESSONS FROM MAYBERRY STILL RESONATE
Many of the big issues that Americans faced in the 1960s never surfaced in life in Mayberry, the fictional North Carolina town in The Andy Griffith Show.

Civil rights and an unpopular war were never written into the script. Instead, Sheriff Andy Taylor mediated minor feuds in the largely homogeneous hamlet, guided his son, reined in the excitable Deputy Barney Fife and set an example for common-sense leadership that still inspires today.

Joey Fann, a software engineer from Huntsville, Ala., who wrote The Way Back to Mayberry, a popular study guide for small groups in churches – reissued for the show’s 50th anniversary – wonders what the calm lawman of Mayberry would make of America’s current collective agitation.

“What impressed me first about the series is the friendships between the characters and the compassion Andy has for everyone,” Fann said. “There are a lot of values in that, even 50 years later.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/religion/7226021.html

VERSE TO PONDER
“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.”
Romans 12:9-13

CONSIDER
“Power in complete subordination to love — that is something like a definition of the Kingdom of God.”
William Temple

HOW TO LOVE GOD MORE DEEPLY
by Patrick Morley
I have a confession to make. In 1991 I retired from the day-to-day responsibilities of my business to devote more time to the noble purpose of helping men find success that matters. Yet almost immediately, something felt amiss.

Within weeks I found myself evaluating “how I was doing” with the same old methods of measuring performance as in business. How many people were in attendance at that speaking engagement? What percentage of them indicated they gave their lives to Christ? How many books did we sell this month? Was it more than last month?

And I began to hate it. So, I began to pray and ask God to give me some sort of “organizing principle” around which I could order my life. A few months later I was reading The Letters of Francis Schaeffer. I can’t recall exactly what I read, but I was prompted to put down the book, pick up my legal pad and write, “I will commit myself to a life of devotion and study of God, then speak, teach, and write about what I am learning.”

Eureka! I thought. That’s it! The key to staying on track is a life of devotion and study of God. A life of devotion means to love Him more and more, and a life of study means to know Him more and more. To love and know God. These, then, should become my chief pursuits, and everything else should proceed out of the overflow of what God is doing in my life. I realized that my relationship with Him must always be a higher priority than the work I do for Him…. Read this in full at
http://www.maninthemirror.org/alm/alm26.htm

WORLD COMMUNION OF REFORMED CHURCHES LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) launched its Web site, http://www.wcrc.ch, on Oct. 8. The site is designed to share the news of WCRC’s 230 member churches representing 80 million Reformed Christians in 108 countries — most in the global south.

The WCRC was created in June 2010 through a merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC). Its member churches are active worldwide in initiatives supporting economic, climate and gender justice, mission, and cooperation among Christians of different traditions, as well as interfaith dialogue.

“WCRC is grateful to the Uniting Church of Australia for its generous support of the development of the site,” says Kristine Greenaway, head of the WCRC Office of Communication. “The expertise and staff time the church donated made this new site possible. It has been an exciting collaboration.”

The website offers news in English, French, Spanish and German about WCRC program initiatives, reports from the Uniting General Council, held in Grand Rapids, Mich. in June and links to the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle, videos, photos and WCRC promotional materials…. Read this in full at
http://www.pcusa.org/news/2010/10/12/world-communion-reformed-churches-launches-new-web/

REPORT FINDS STRONG GROWTH IN USA ORTHODOX CHURCHES
America’s Eastern Orthodox parishes have grown 16% in the past decade, in part because of a settled immigrant community, according to new research.

Alexei Krindatch, research consultant for the Standing Conferences of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, said the 16% growth in the number of Orthodox parishes is “a fairly high ratio for religious groups in the United States.”

The number of Orthodox parishes has reached 2,370, and the Orthodox community in America consists of more than 1 million adherents across 20 different church bodies, according to the 2010 US Orthodox Census.

The top five largest Orthodox churches in the US are Greek Orthodox (476,900), Orthodox Church in America (84,900), Antiochian Orthodox (74,600), Serbian Orthodox (68,800) and Russian Orthodox (27,700)…. Read this in full at
http://pewforum.org/Religion-News/RNS-Report-finds-strong-growth-in-US-Orthodox-churches.aspx

ZACCHAEUS’ TREE NOW A TOP TOURIST DESTINATION
A huge sycamore tree that some believe was climbed by Zacchaeus the tax collector to get a better view of Jesus is the centerpiece of a new tourism campaign by the Palestinian government.

The tree is located in Jericho, the first city conquered by Joshua when the Israelites crossed into Canaan. The city, sometimes touted as the world’s oldest town, is a rich oasis of greenery in a desert landscape.

Once the winter home of the wealthy elite thanks to its balmy winter weather, Jericho has seen hard times in recent years, especially since the start of the first Palestinian uprising in the late 1980s.

The West Bank city has been subject to Israeli security closures and subsequently high unemployment. An ultra-modern casino, popular with Israelis during quieter times, was shut down years ago…. Read this in full at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/06/zacchaeus-tree-now-a-top-_n_753465.html

JERICHO’S MASSIVE 1,200-YEAR-OLD MOSAIC ON DISPLAY
What is 1,200 years old, over 9,000 square feet and drawing visitors for one week only? It’s the largest Middle Eastern carpet mosaic, of course, and it is now on view in the ruins of an 8th century Islamic palace in Jericho.

The exhibit is aimed to ramp up visitors to Jericho, which already has a healthy tourism market. Designating itself as the oldest city on Earth, Jericho has also claimed the honored week as its 10,000-year anniversary. In fact, Oct. 10’s celebration of Jericho’s 10,000th birthday is fairly arbitrary, with archeologists admitting they could be off by hundreds of years in dating the first human settlement in the area…. Read this in full at
http://news.discovery.com/archaeology/jerichos-massive-1200-year-old-mosaic-on-display.html

JESUS WAS BORN IN BETHLEHEM, BUT CHRISTIANITY WAS BORN IN JORDAN,’ SAYS CHRISTIAN LEADER
by Dan Wooding
A Jordanian Christian leader has said, “Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but Christianity was born in Jordan.”

This statement was made by Father Nabil Haddad, a Greek Melekite Catholic Priest and Executive Director of the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center (JICRC), with whom I spoke on Sunday, October 10, 2010, during my visit to Jordan with a group of Christian journalists sponsored by the Jordan Tourism Board.

I asked this charming priest to explain what he meant by this statement and he replied that he was referring to the fact that Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan at Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan.

“The greatest holy event in the history of Christianity, took place here in Jordan,” Father Haddad went on to say as we talked at the King Hussein Club in Amman. “We read of this in the New Testament and this is what gives us that legacy; the holy legacy; the holy tradition; that Christianity was birthed in this part of the world.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2010/s10100048.htm

THE PROS AND CONS OF FORGIVENESS
“One of the greatest challenges of the spiritual life is to receive God’s forgiveness. There is something in us humans that keeps us clinging to our sins and prevents us from letting God erase our past and offer us a completely new beginning. Sometimes it even seems as though I want to prove to God my darkness is too great to overcome. While God wants to restore me to the full dignity of sonship, I keep insisting that I will settle for being a hired servant.

“But do I truly want to be restored to the full responsibility of the son? Do I truly want to be so totally forgiven that a completely new way of living becomes possible? Do I want to break away from my deep-rooted rebellion against God and surrender myself so absolutely to God’s love that a new person can emerge?

“As a hired servant, I can still keep my distance, still revolt, reject, strike, run away, or complain about my pay. As the beloved son, I have to claim my full dignity and begin preparing myself to become the father.”
Henri Nouwen, quoted in Grace (Visual Edition) by Philip Yancey

MAX LUCADO CONVINCED THAT COMPASSION IS THE CHURCH’S BEST APOLOGETIC
After more than 20 years of pastoring and discipling Christians, bestselling author Max Lucado is delving into a new apologetics – compassion. “This whole idea of compassion being the best apologetic has really captured my heart,” he said.

It was some four to six years ago when Third Day band member Tai Anderson asked Lucado a challenging question. “When your great grandchildren learn that you lived in a day in which a billion people were hungry and 27,000 people die every day of preventable diseases, how would they gauge your response?” “The Lord used that question to wake me up,” Lucado said. “I had devoted a lot of my life to discipleship things and to evangelism initiatives but I had to acknowledge that I had not done much in the area of compassion, which is really the third leg on the stool of Christian faith,” the author, who currently serves as Minister of Preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, realized…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20101012/max-lucado-convinced-that-compassion-is-the-churchs-best-apologetic/

WHY PLAN B IS PLAN A: LEARNING WHAT GOD WANTS FOR YOUR LIFE
by Shawn McEvoy
Sometimes even our best laid plans don’t work out the way we’d hoped. We don’t all grow up to do what we thought we would do, and what looks like failure descends upon us all. However, that does not mean God is absent from our struggles. Pete Wilson, author of Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?, believes it is only by overcoming fear and giving up control that we are able to discover the life God has planned for us.

Crosswalk.com: Pete, in Plan B, one of the things you demonstrate is how God does His best work in some of our most hopeless situations. If that’s a given, is there ever a “Plan B” or was that really the only workable plan all along?

Pete Wilson: Well, you could really go deep with the theology behind that. I think we all face Plan B’s, because often life does not turn out the way we thought it would. We have all of these dreams, but no one ever dreamed that they would end up with cancer at 35, or that they would be divorced at 45, or lose their job at 50. You face all of these situations in life that just do not turn out the way you hoped they would. So, in essence, they are certainly plan B’s to us. Now obviously, for God in His sovereignty, I don’t believe that it is His Plan B. But for us, from a human standpoint, we face these shattered dreams all the time…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianity.com/Home/Christian%20Living%20Features/11638883/

GLOBAL MINISTRY LEADERS TO GATHER FOR LIVE ONLINE PRAYER CELEBRATION
Join top ministry leaders, pastors, and authors at noon and 7 pm Central Time on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010, for Operation World Live Global Prayer Celebration, a free online event hosted by Operation World editor Jason Mandryk at http://www.operationworld.org. Sponsored by Operation World partners WEC International, GMI (Global Mapping Intl.), and Biblica, the celebration marks the beginning of the 60 Days of Global Prayer.

The Nov. 9 online prayer celebration will include a live chat with Mandryk, prayer videos for countries around the world, and comments from distinguished ministry leaders, including:
* Operation Mobilization founder George Verwer
* Gospel for Asia founder K.P. Yohannan
* Dalit Freedom Network President Joseph D’souza
* 24-7 Prayer founder Pete Greig
* Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream author and senior pastor David Platt
* Best-selling author and pastor Max Lucado
* Focus on the Family CEO Jim Daly
* AnGel Ministries founder and author Anne Graham Lotz, and many more

During the 60 Days of Global Prayer, operationworld.org will feature a different country, with newly updated country information from Operation World, unreached people group e-prayer cards from Joshua Project, and a country specific video from http://www.prayercast.com…. Read this in full at
http://christiannewswire.com/news/1327515184.html

NEW YORKERS DE-STRESS DURING LUNCH HOUR AT AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY’S MANHATTAN HEADQUARTERS
Stressed-out New Yorkers now have a place to recharge. Bible Talk Tuesdays, hosted by the American Bible Society are set to take place every Tuesday from noon to 1:00 p.m. at 1865 Broadway, New York, NY 10023, between 61st and 62nd Streets near the 59th Street Columbus Circle subway stop.

Bible Talk Tuesdays is actually the revival of a 150-year-old tradition sparked by Jeremiah Lanphier during another difficult economic period in America. In 1857 Lanphier, a local businessman, began a prayer meeting for other business professionals. Within months, the meetings had spread across New York and into cities such as Philadelphia, Washington and Chicago.

“The goal of the Bible Talk Tuesdays is the same as Jeremiah Lanphier’s — to encourage New Yorkers during rough times and help them make sense of life,” says pastor Drew Segawa, who organizes the weekly event on behalf of American Bible Society…. Read this in full at
http://christiannewswire.com/news/2961815203.html

TOO MUCH TV PSYCHOLOGICALLY HARMS CHILDREN: STUDY
Hiding the TV remote and games console controller is a good thing to do to kids if it’s the only way to limit the time they spend in front of a screen, according to a study.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Bristol, found that youngsters who spend hours each day in front of the TV or games console have more psychological difficulties like problems relating to peers, emotional issues, hyperactivity, or conduct challenges, than those who don’t.

And contrary to what earlier studies have indicated, the negative impact of screen time was not remedied by increasing a child’s physical activity levels, says the study, published in the US journal Pediatrics…. Read this in full at
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101011/wl_uk_afp/healthmindchildrentelevisioncomputer

CONSIDER
“Exactness in little duties is a wonderful source of cheerfulness.”
Frederick W. Faber

VERSE TO PONDER
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: ABIDE WITH ME
Words: Henry F. Lyte, 1847
Music: William H. Monk, 1861

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/a/b/abidewme.htm

ON PRAYER
“If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more and if they are your enemies, you are under orders to pray for them.” C.S. Lewis

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 us to add you to our prayer chain 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.

Bible Quiz
http://www.christianity.com/Quizzes/Quiz.aspx?quizId=90

Morphed images of Van Gogh’s self portraits
http://vimeo.com/2107922

Jesus Christ in art
http://vimeo.com/14770894

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 person who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.
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

Check out my blog

 

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: