CONNECTIONS News – 06/17/2012


Connecting man to man to God
For week of June 17, 2012
Issue 412

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.

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Heaven is declaring God’s glory; the sky is proclaiming his handiwork. One day gushes the news to the next, and one night informs another what needs to be known.
– Psalm 19:1-2 (CEB)

Christianity is not the sacrifice we make, but the sacrifice we trust; not the victory we win, but the victory we inherit. That is the evangelical principle.”
– P. T. Forsyth (1848-1921), The Justification of God, Duckworth, 1916, London: Independent Press, 1957, p. 220

The percentage of Americans 30 and younger who harbor some doubts about God’s existence appears to be growing quickly, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. While most young Americans, 68%, told Pew they never doubt God’s existence, that’s a 15-point drop in just 5 years.

In 2007, 83% of American millennials said they never doubted God’s existence.

More young people are expressing doubts about God now than at any time since Pew started asking the question a decade ago. Thirty-one percent disagreed with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God,” double the number who disagreed with it in 2007…. Read this in full at

by Mary C. Neal MD
One lesson I learned after I drowned on a South American river was that to face life’s challenges with gratitude and joy, a person must first lose his or her faith.

I am an experienced kayaker, but when I crested the top of a moderate waterfall while kayaking the Fuy River, I saw no clean exit to the tremendous turbulence at its bottom. I pragmatically assumed I would tip over at the bottom, then exit my boat and be briefly tossed about in the turbulence before surfacing and swimming downstream.

When my boat struck the bottom with a thud, I was immediately submerged. As a spine surgeon, I am familiar and comfortable with stressful situations. I remained calm as I sequentially went through the steps to extricate myself: detaching my spray skirt (neoprene fabric that keeps water out of the boat by stretching between the kayaker’s waist and the boat’s cockpit rim), pushing myself out of the boat with my feet, and trying to free the boat by rocking back and forth. I had no air, was too far from shore for anyone to reach me and my self-rescue was prevented by the flowing water flattening my torso against the front deck of my boat. After a lifetime of fearing a drowning death, the irony of my predicament almost made me chuckle…. Read this in full at

by Clare De Graaf
Mr. De Graaf, I understand what the Bible says, but what do you say to people who are gay, love each other and want to commit their lives to each other in marriage? Didn’t Jesus say we should love others and want for them, what we want for ourselves? Besides, how can that be wrong if that’s the way God wired them?”

On my recent teaching trip to Europe with four Christian college seniors, this question regarding homosexual marriage came up in light of President Obama’s recent statements on the subject. In an interview with ABC News he even invoked the Golden Rule, “It’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.”

This blog isn’t political or a thorough discussion of the homosexual issue. Neither were the guys on the trip advocating gay marriage, but were searching for a more thoughtful, yet biblical way to dialogue with those who are. So, here’s how I believe followers of Jesus ought to frame this and similar discussions when what is being advocated seems to be clearly at odds with the Bible…. Read this in full at

by Tim Challies
John Piper sparked quite a storm with his biographical message on the “frank and manly” J. C. Ryle. One of his conclusion was that Christianity is meant to have a masculine feel to it. Response to his message ranged from outrage to applause. I found myself perplexed and needed to give it some time to work itself out in my mind. For a while I gave up, but then decided that it would be worth the effort, so sat down and began to hash out my thoughts. It took a long time, but having done so, I find that I am pretty sure I disagree with Piper. I will tell you why, but first, a short refresher on his message…. Read this in full at

by Marcus Brotherton
I didn’t doubt that a famed historical teacher once lived and breathed in the ancient near east. Even secular historians like Josephus described the existence of Jesus of Nazareth as fact.

A nice enough guy, that Jesus. A good leader. And he surely captured the attention of the crowds. But to form a whole world-view around him? Seemed a little overboard…. Read this in full at

DOMAIN NAME DASH TAKES IT TO .CHURCH, the high-tech megachurch out of Oklahoma, entered the domain-name competition June 13, ponying up the $185,000 application fee in an effort to lay claim to .church as the Web faces a massive expansion of domains.

But executive pastor Bobby Gruenewald, whose LifeChurch title is innovation leader, says the goal is not to profit from controlling the domain with fees for listing rights but to make Internet outreach easier and more accessible. broadcasts Web worship services online to 15 locations in Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Florida and New York. It also has set up a free Bible app for mobil devices and offers resources to 100,000 pastors — “our target market for” …. Read this in full at

Erwin Lutzer has led the historic Moody Church in downtown Chicago for more than 30 years, authored more than 30 books, and is featured regularly on three national radio programs. In this interview, Dr. Lutzer offers his perspective on spiritual warfare. He shares his thoughts on deliverance, temptation, the role of the community, and why he believes Satan needs God’s permission “even to wiggle.” …. Read this in full at

by Robert C. Crosby
In the 15th century, Johannes Gutenberg and Martin Luther both wanted to get Scripture into the hands of the masses. Centuries later, in a new millennium with technologies far exceeding any they could have imagined, their vision has been fulfilled at a stunning pace.

Not only do billions around the world now have access to the Bible online, and not only are many of them actually reading it, they’re also actively engaging with the Word of God—and with one another in far flung virtual communities across the planet.

With these trends, the vocabulary of Bible dissemination is changing. For centuries, the buzzword was distribution, with a focus on quantity delivered. The new buzzword is engagement. Lamar Vest, president and CEO of the American Bible Society (ABS), says we’re witnessing “a revival of Bible engagement. For too long we have judged our effectiveness by the number of Bibles distributed. We are determined to no longer judge our effectiveness by tonnage but by impact.” …. Read this in full at

Ron Blue has an investment philosophy you don’t hear very often these days. Specifically, the Founder and Managing Director of Kingdom Advisors says the old proverbs found in the Bible hold the keys to today’s investment success.

Blue began reading and studying the bible only after becoming well-versed in the tenets of financial reporting as a Certified Public Accountant. What surprised him was the degree to which doing either effectively came down to the same basic rules. Blue recently went on Yahoo!’s financial program Breakout to share some of these proverbs and how their meanings apply to investors of any faith…. Read this in full at

A group that monitors religious freedom violations in the armed forces claimed victory June 11 after the Pentagon announced that LifeWay Christian Resources can no longer use official emblems of the four military branches on Bibles sold at military installations around the globe.

In an exchange of letters with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Defense Department officials said permission granted in 2003 to the Southern Baptist Convention publishing house to use military emblems on four Holman Christian Standard Bibles titled The Soldier’s Bible, Sailor’s Bible, Marine’s Bible and Airman’s Bible was revoked when the military revamped its trademark licensing regulations in 2011.

The Albuquerque-based foundation formed to defend both freedom of and freedom from religion in the military complained after learning through a Freedom of Information Act request that the Army gave LifeWay permission on March 13, 2003, to utilize the Army emblem on books published for commercial sale. Lawyers claimed it violated the Establishment Clause by giving appearance of a government stamp of approval on the Bibles, which are available only in Protestant versions and include supplemental study material with an evangelical bent…. Read this in full at

I do not understand how a man can be a sincere believer unto whom sin is not the greatest burden and sorrow.”
– John Owen (1616-1683), I.4 in The Grace and Duty of being Spiritually Minded [1681], in Works of John Owen, v. VII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 333

It has been well said that no man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear. Never load yourselves so, my friends. If you find yourselves so loaded, at least remember this: it is your own doing, not God’s. He begs you to leave the future to Him and mind the present.”
– George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I [1867], London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 203

On some occasions, I’ll ask folks like these, ‘Do you think anyone is orchestrating those ideas that float through your mind? I mean, do you think your thoughts are just random, or is it possible that God is trying to communicate to you in some way?’ Usually, they think it’s all random. Which usually is when I beg to differ.

“‘When the circumstances of your life start to shift,’ I suggest, ‘at least consider that it might be due to God. When you find yourself in a state of confusion or curiosity about the way things are going, go ahead and ask him if there’s something he’d like to say to you. Open your hands, open your heart, heighten your attentiveness to any small way he might want to communicate to you, and then agree in advance that you will comply with whatever he says. Why not give it a shot? What’s the downside?’”
– Bill Hybels in The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond

If God is not, then the existence of all that is beautiful and in any sense good, is but the accidental and ineffective by-product of blindly swirling atoms, or of the equally unpurposeful, though more conceptually complicated, mechanisms of present-day physics. A man may well believe that this dreadful thing is true. But only the fool will say in his heart that he is glad that it is true. For to wish there should be no God is to wish that the things which we love and strive to realize and make permanent, should be only temporary and doomed to frustration and destruction. If life and its fulfillments are good, why should one rejoice at the news that God is dead and that there is nothing in the whole world except our frail and perishable selves that is concerned with anything that matters?”
– William Pepperell Montague (1873-1953), Belief Unbound, Yale University Press, 1931, p. 66-67

The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. God is the ocean.”
– Jonathan Edwards

The Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games is on Friday, July 27, 2012.

The remarkable success of evangelist Billy Graham’s Crusades for Christ did not come from his preaching alone, but also the immense amount of preparation and follow-up that went into planning each revival.

Now, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is taking that experience and harnessing it to save souls through the Internet in a way that perhaps only such a large and established organization can.

The basic premise is simple: Use search engines to find people who are looking for answers to life’s big questions and direct them to the website, From there, seekers are led through a series of readings and videos loosely tied to John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” …. Read this in full at

You will not stroll into Christlikeness with your hands in your pockets, shoving the door open with a careless shoulder. This is no hobby for one’s leisure moments, taken up at intervals when we have nothing much to do, and put down and forgotten when our life grows full and interesting. It takes all one’s strength, and all one’s heart, and all one’s mind, and all one’s soul, given freely and recklessly and without restraint. This is a business for adventurous spirits; others would shrink out of it. And so Christ had a way of pulling up would-be recruits with sobering and disconcerting questions, of meeting applicants, breathless and panting in their eagerness, by asking them if they really thought they had the grit, the stamina, the gallantry, required. For many, He explained, begin, but quickly become cowed, and slink away, leaving a thing unfinished as a pathetic monument of their own lack of courage and of staying power.”
– A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 230-231

Conventional wisdom says that conservative churches grow and liberal churches don’t. But as a recent study from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research found, this isn’t quite accurate. It’s the denomination’s theology that tends to matter, not the congregation’s.

Churches in evangelical denominations are more than twice as likely to grow as churches in mainline denominations, but within those denominations theological orientation doesn’t have much effect. In other words, orthodoxy doesn’t draw crowds on its own…. Read this in full at

by Saralee Perel
I’m finally beginning to recover from the loss of our dog, Gracie. She died in October. A veterinarian said, “Remember the good times and she’ll always be with you.”

Well, that’s easier said than done. All I’ve thought about was her ending … until now.

Ever since my spinal cord injury, Gracie became my guardian. She would have given up her life for me by blocking cars I hadn’t seen or bikers or aggressive dogs. Because of her help, I defied medical opinions and learned to walk again, making it to 10 miles. She truly was my saving Grace.

During her last months, she’d get confused wandering in our backyard. She wasn’t afraid because I’d be by her side — the same way she had been by mine. The feel of my hand on her golden forehead always grounded her in safety and love…. Read this in full at

Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other.”
– Colossians 3:13 (CEB)

I have so many things to do today, I dare not ignore my time with God.”
– Martin Luther

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord.” Psalm 96:11-13

There’s this idea floating around that God, church, and other spiritual matters are spokes in the wheel of a person’s busy life. People say things like, “Oh, yeah, I go to church” in the same way they’d say, “Oh, yeah, I go to that gym” or “Oh, yeah, I’m on that committee.”

But the Bible makes it quite clear that God’s desire – and the best way to live life – is not to have God as one spoke on the wheel of your life, but to have him as the hub. Sometimes people compartmentalize their spiritual life, like one of those TV dinners. Your job is in one aluminum compartment, your family in another, and your spiritual life – God – in another.

But life works best when you bring God into every area of your life. He can bring change, health, and growth to every aspect of your life – from your job, to your social life, to all your relationships.

In the passage above, the psalmist charges everything to praise God. The earth. The sea. The land. The stars. Trees. Forests. Fields. Everything. All of God’s creation – including us – has reason to be joyful because of how good God is.

Take a moment to consider the whole of your life. Does it all belong to God? And more importantly, does it all reflect praise to God? Chances are, you’re going to say no. That’s OK. Today you can invite God in. Tell him about an area you’re having problems with or are worried about. Watch what a difference it makes when God is your hub and not just a spoke on your wheel.”
– Once-A-Day Devotional for Men.

by Rudy Carrasco
When my first child was about to be born, I freaked out. It was the 9th month. I was 33. I was in the bathroom and thought, “I don’t know how to father her. What am I going to do?”

I grew up without a father and without a mother. My sister, God bless her, raised me. The thing is, I knew a lot about caring for people, following Christ, and knew enough about what it takes to be a father and husband that I felt ok. But it was one of those moments when you look deep inside yourself — and I freaked out.

I can’t do this,” I thought. “I am going to mess her up.” …. Read this in full at

The music of the gospel must precede the words of the gospel and prepare the context in which there will be a hunger for those words. What is the music of the gospel? The music of the gospel is the beauty of the indwelling Christ as lived out in the everyday relationships of life.”
– Joseph C. Aldrich (1941-2009), Lifestyle Evangelism, Multnomah Press, 1981, p. 20

Not long ago I boarded an airport shuttle bus to get to the rental car lot. Driving a shuttle bus is usually a thankless job, for the driver is often regarded as the low man on the totem pole. People on the bus are often grumpy from travel and in a hurry to get to their car. No one says much except the name of their rental car company. But not on this bus.

The man who drove the bus was an absolute delight. He was scanning the curbside, looking for anybody who needed a ride. ‘You know,’ he told us, ‘I’m always looking because sometimes people are running late. You can tell it in their eyes. I’m always looking because I never want to miss one. Hey, here’s another one!’

The driver pulled over to pick up a latecomer, and he was so excited about what he was doing that we got excited. We were actually cheering him on when he was picking people up. It was like watching Jesus drive a shuttle bus. The man would grab people’s luggage before they could lift it, then he would jump back on the bus and say, ‘Well we’re off. I know you’re all eager to get there as quickly as possible, so I’m going to get you there as soon as I can.’

Jaded commuters put down their papers. He created such a little community of joy on that bus that people wanted to ride around in the terminal a second time just to hang out with the guy. We would say to people who got on after us, ‘Watch this guy!’ He wasn’t just our shuttle bus driver – he was our leader; he was our friend. And for a few moments, community flourished. On a shuttle bus for a rental car company – and one person moved toward the best version of himself.

What happened to that shuttle bus driver can happen in you. Sometimes it does. Every once in a while you do something that surprises you and catch a glimpse of the person you were made to be. You say something inspirational at a meeting. You help a homeless man no one else notices. You are patient with a rambunctious three-year-old.

As you do, you glimpse for a moment why God made you. Only God knows your full potential, and he is guiding you toward that best version of yourself all the time. He has many tools and is never in a hurry. That can be frustrating for us, but even in our frustration, God is at work to produce patience in us. He never gets discouraged by how long it takes, and he delights every time you grow. Only God can see the ‘best version of you,’ and he is more concerned with you reaching your full potential than you are.

“’For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ [Ephesians 2:10]

You are not your handiwork; your life is not your project. Your life is God’s project. God thought you up, and he knows what you were intended to be. He has many good works for you to do, but they are not the kind of ‘to do’ lists we give spouses or employees. They are signposts to your true self.”
– John Ortberg in The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You

Following the way of Jesus Christ and doing all we can for His cause and for our fellow men expresses something of our worship in action.

But how to give Him a present to express our love is a bit of a problem. How can you give God anything when He owns everything? But does He? How about that power to choose, that precious free will that He has given to every living personality and which He so greatly respects?

That is the only present we can give — ourselves, with all our powers of spirit, mind, and body — willingly, freely, given because we love Him.

That is the best and highest worship that you and I can offer, and I am sure that it is this above all that God most highly appreciates.”
– J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Plain Christianity, London: Macmillan, 1954, p. 63

How dangerous it is for our salvation, how unworthy of God and of ourselves, how pernicious even for the peace of our hearts, to want always to stay where we are! Our whole life was only given us to advance us by great strides toward our heavenly country.”
– Francois Fenelon

The residents of Middleborough, Massachusetts, have had enough of *#%@&! They voted June 11 to make those who curse put their money where their potty mouths are – to the sum of $20, that is.

Police in the town of 22,000 will be writing tickets bearing fines in that amount to those who foul its public places with profanity after residents voted 183-50…. Read this in full at

All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.”
– C. S. Lewis

Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it. But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it.”
– Matthew 7:13-14 (CEB)

Words: Robert Robinson, 1758
Music: John Wyeth, 1813

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

>from NetHymnal at

A frequent intercession with God, earnestly beseeching Him to forgive the sins of all mankind, to bless them with His providence, enlighten them with His Spirit, and bring them to everlasting happiness, is the divinest exercise that the heart of man can be engaged in.

Be daily therefore on your knees, in a solemn, deliberate performance of this devotion, praying for others in such forms, with such length, importunity, and earnestness, as you use for yourself; and you will find all little, ill-natured passions die away, your heart grow great and generous, delighting in the common happiness of others, as you used only to delight in your own.

It was this holy intercession that raised Christians to such a state of mutual love, as far exceeded all that had been praised and admired in human friendship. And when the same spirit of intercession is again in the world, when Christianity has the same power over the hearts of people, that it then had, this holy friendship will be again in fashion, and Christians will be again the wonder of the world, for that exceeding love which they bear to one another.”
– William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 413


Use the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.

I am agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake you!

Marital harmony
Family unity
Children saved
Faithful pastor
Spirit-filled church
Real friendships
Relatives redeemed
Educational benefits
Recreational time
Fulfilling career
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will

Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Estates & inheritances
Investment increase
Rebates & returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Money to be found
Bills decrease while blessings increase

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God” (Deut. 28:2).

[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you’d like 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.]

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Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

Fantastic tree houses

Infographic: How to take notes

10 Bets You Will Never Lose

Another 10 quirky science stunts

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 friend is someone who thinks you’re a good egg even though you might be slightly cracked.
Frank Coleman, Editor

Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!

CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!

The CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to interact with other men on our journey of faith in Christ together. Large group, small group, and one-to-one events encourage relationship building and spiritual strengthening that result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ.
Contact Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
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