CONNECTIONS News – 02/16/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of February 16, 2014
Issue 498

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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Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints.
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (CEB)

As Christ is our life, so He is also our light.”
– William R. Inge (1860-1954), Personal Religion and the Life of Devotion, London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1924, p. 75

The Christian Hospitality Center opened in Sochi on Feb. 7 with a ribbon-cutting by church leaders Ivan Chehunov, Richard Page and Vladimir Samoilov before the Olympic Games.

Page is the director of SOAR International Ministries, the primary organizer of the center.

Chehunov is a leader within Russia’s Association of Evangelical Christians while Samoilov is from In Rus, a Baptist organization.

Local Christians put up “centers of hospitality” on their properties near Olympic venues for anyone interested in watching live broadcasts of the games. Their tents offer chairs, tables, computers and a plasma screen with projector, and can accommodate 150 people…. Read this in full at

In the basement of a church hung a forgotten American flag, and when John Christensen laid eyes on it, he knew it was the flag he’d been praying for to take to the Sochi Olympics.

“I have a flag at home, but I just thought, ‘Lord, show me a flag. I want to have a symbol to take.’ And the very first time I walked into that church,” Christensen recalls, “I saw that flag hanging there and I told our pastor, ‘I’m taking this flag to Russia.'”

Christensen, a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer, is passionate about sharing Jesus with the world. As the world convenes for the Olympics, he has come prepared to share Jesus using whatever tools he has, including Engage Sochi trading pins, highway patrol officer patches and a flag.

“I have the calling every other believer has,” Christensen, who is a member of Strong Tower Baptist Church, says. “We’re to be salt and light, we’re to go into the world and make disciples in other nations. I was really fortunate to come here, and my prayer is that many people will come to know Jesus Christ.” …. Read this in full at

Victor Podluzhny, an Athletes in Action staff member in Russia, is striving to create avenues to share the Christian message during the Olympics by capitalizing on the popularity of this global event.

“Russia is a country where sports has first position in society, so it is very easy for us to share the gospel in this platform,” says Podluzhny.

Carl Dambman, who helped to open the AIA outreach in Russia, spent 35 years serving the Russian people through sports ministry. He first began this mission as a competitive wrestler.

In the early 70’s, Dambman, along with a number of other American wrestlers, traveled to what was then the Soviet Union to compete. In addition to competing, the team shared the Christian faith with their opponents, which was outlawed by the Soviet government…. Read this in full at

by Chad Bonham
Nancy Swider-Peltz Sr. doesn’t particularly enjoy being labeled a rebel, but she gets it. For the past quarter-century, she’s been doing things quite a bit differently than her peers in the US speedskating community, both in the way she’s competed and coached and how she shares her convictions and faith.

I don’t coach in the conventional way,” she says. “I am what you call an experiential coach. I coach from feeling. I watch my skaters. I started out my career by actually skating with them. I would feel what they felt. Most coaches come up with an idea and make their athletes do it. I’m a person who wants to understand what they’re feeling.”

That desire to connect with athletes on an emotional level has fueled, on several occasions, her reputation as “anti-establishment.” Bottom line: She has no problem standing up for anyone that she feels isn’t getting a fair shake…. Read this in full at

It’s as dependable as the Olympic Flame. Every two years the world’s best athletes convene in a single city to compete for the honor of their countries, their families, and, for some, their God.

The games stay the same — give or take your Ski Halfpipe, Women’s Ski Jumping, or Team Figure Skating, all making their debuts in Sochi — but every Olympic season we welcome a new set of athletes into our homes via Bob Costas and his personality pieces engineered to invest us more deeply in their pursuit of gold. For two weeks these athletes become household names, securing a few more weeks if they win gold, and their stories become the backdrop of our lives until the last lights go out in the Olympic Village…. Read this in full at

At every Olympic Games there is a sizeable contingency of athletes looking to glorify God while giving their best in the various fields of competition. This year at the Sochi Games is no different. With that in mind, here are a few Winter Olympic athletes whose personal faith is more important than winning gold medals…. Read this in full at

Over the past two decades, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been an upsurge in affiliation with Orthodox Christianity in Russia.1 Between 1991 and 2008, the share of Russian adults identifying as Orthodox Christian rose from 31% to 72%, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of three waves of data (1991, 1998 and 2008) from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) – a collaboration involving social scientists in about 50 countries. During the same period, the share of Russia’s population that does not identify with any religion dropped from 61% to 18%. The share of Russian adults identifying with other religions, including Islam, Protestant Christianity and Roman Catholicism, rose in the 1990s and then leveled off. (Estimates of the size of Russia’s Muslim population vary. The most recent ISSP survey finds that Muslims make up 5% of Russia’s population, but other surveys and studies have somewhat higher estimates…. Read this in full at

by Sports Spectrum
Our Super Bowl XLVIII and February 2014 DigiMag is now available. This issue features exclusive interviews from Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day on Tuesday along with in-depth faith stories on players and coaches on the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. Our columns also touch on a variety of issues. Managing editor Brett Honeycutt writes about Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman in his column “Airing It Out,” and staff writer Stephen Copeland writes about his experience in New York City in his column “Another Angle.” …. Read this in full at

by Michael Duduit
Michael Halleen wrote, “Winston Churchill failed sixth grade, but he was no failure as leader of his nation. Thomas Edison failed all his classes in school and was sent home to work on his widowed mother’s farm, but he was no failure as an inventor and creator of progress. David Livingstone fled from the pulpit of his first church in Scotland, a failure because he could not remember the text he was to preach on. From there he went to Africa and brought the Christian faith within reach of millions.

“Failing, in itself, is not the issue. It is what we do next that matters.”

Whatever has been happening in your life in recent days, remember it is what God is going to do next that matters. So stay faithful!

There is little doubt that the inerrancy of the Bible is a current and often contentious topic among evangelicals. Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy represents a timely contribution by showcasing the spectrum of evangelical positions on inerrancy, facilitating understanding of these perspectives, particularly where and why they diverge…. Read and see videos on these views at

As the former President of National Fatherhood Initiative, current President and CEO of CareNet, the nation’s largest network of pregnancy resource centers, and a father who grew up in a fatherless home, Roland Warren has a unique and personal understanding of the challenges fathers face and the common mistakes they make. In his new book, Bad Dads of the Bible: 8 Mistakes Every Good Dad Can Avoid, Warren shares 8 stories of godly fathers making familiar yet costly mistakes and brings them into a contemporary setting so today’s dad can know how to avoid — or sometimes handle — these same mistakes…. Read this in full at

Those of you who love the LORD, hate evil! God guards the lives of his faithful ones, delivering them from the power of the wicked.
– Psalm 97:10 (CEB)

The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”
– Peter Drucker

by Clare De Graaf
A year ago I began meeting with a young man and a serious follower of Jesus. With the encouragement of some older mentors, he and some friends have established a house here in Grand Rapids, for single men. They’ve also established some “rules of life” for their house to encourage community, accountability and godliness.

What follows was written by these young men, edited for brevity. When I heard what these guys were doing, I thought immediately about it as another possible “cure” for Consensual Hypocrisy, on which I’ve been blogging.

We have the goal of discipling young people for Jesus. The difference is that the house is geared toward the progression of faith in everyday life. The men not only hear teaching but actively participate in the teachings of Christ. Our belief is that the principles of reconciliation, accountability, service, unity, faith and love as spoken of by Jesus are principles for life. They are the basis for all healthy relationships…. Read this in full at

Where can we find inner strength to cope with fears, tragedy, disaster and sadness? What exactly can we count on God for?

To what degree can we rely on God to be with us? Is He really someone we can turn to at all…in times of crisis as well as times of calm?

God is the Creator of the universe who yearns for us to know Him. That is why we are all here. It is His desire that we rely on and experience His strength, love, justice, holiness and compassion. So He says to all who are willing, “Come to Me.” …. Read this in full at

by Dick Staub
Culturally savvy Christians follow the path of neither the cultural glutton (who consume too much) nor the cultural anorexic (who abstain completely). Instead, they are marked by their discretion and thoughtful discernment.

To discern means to see something that is not very clear or obvious. The apostle Paul taught that only renewed minds are able to discern God’s will. Because popular culture is powerful, pervasive, and persuasive, each day we will be called upon to practice discernment — but what does it mean to show discernment? How do we do it? …. Read this in full at

by Chris Nye
his remarkable new book, Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense, Francis Spufford takes a fresh swing at atheist rhetoric. Spufford illustrates his frustrations by summarizing comments about a famous bus advertisement seen around London a couple of years ago. The billboard read: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

I work with high school students and hear some variation of this all the time. After all, life must be enjoyed — and God puts a real damper on that endeavor, don’t you think? I just want to live life! Spufford’s objection to the sentiment is aimed at its presuppositions. “Enjoyment is lovely,” he writes, “but enjoyment is just one emotion.”

What about the other emotions we feel like pain, joy, exhaustion, humiliation, tenderness, and grief? he asks. What to do then? And even more to the point, what about the people who have very little control over “enjoying” their life? Imagine the poor, disabled, and enslaved watching that bus billboard go by: Enjoy my life? How?…. Read this in full at

“So, what do you do?” America’s quintessential get-to-know-you question is a lot harder to answer these days, between the realities of the new freelance economy, the ever-shifting lines between work and home life, and a revived quest for meaning that often manifests itself in unconventional ways.

Barna Group’s new research shows that three-quarters of US adults (75%) say they are looking for ways to live a more meaningful life. Whether such meaning is found in family, career, church, side projects or elsewhere, these are all questions of vocation—that is, the way in which people feel “called” to certain types of work and life choices. And in 2014, these questions remain as strong as ever for millions of Americans…. Read this in full at

by Brett McCracken
Something is brewing among American Protestants, and it has a decidedly hoppy flavor.

For much of the last century in the United States, Protestant Christianity’s relationship with beer was cold or even hostile at times. Protestant organizations such as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League led the campaign to make alcohol illegal.

Even after Prohibition ended, many evangelicals defined themselves by their abstention from alcohol, called “the beloved enemy” by televangelist Jack Van Impe.

Drinking was, and in many cases still is, outlawed on Christian college campuses and among leadership of many churches and denominations.

But in recent years, change has been fermenting. Taverns and beer halls, once dismissed as the domain of the “worldly” in need of reform, are today the meeting places for churches…. Read this in full at

by Patrick Stafford
My wife started feeling strange during our vacation. That is to say, she didn’t feel anything. Those annoying quirks of the first trimester had disappeared.

A quick visit to the doctor suggested nothing was wrong, but just to be sure, she went to the ultrasound technician. It was a Friday morning, my brother’s birthday, when she called and told me the news.

I knew something was wrong before she spoke. She never calls.

We had thought she was at 11 weeks, but the technician told her (quite coldly) that the fetus had stopped growing at week six. We had no child.

I didn’t feel anything. Truthfully, I didn’t know how to feel…. Read this in full at

Most of the pastors in Africa are trained in Bible schools which use literate (often Western) methods. These schools haven’t experienced other methods. The pastor then graduates and tries to communicate the Bible with his people. They often struggle to understand their pastor. He in turn becomes frustrated by their lack of response and changed lives. He wants them to grow in maturity and naturally pass on the good news.

Could there be another way of doing teaching, evangelism training and even theological education? This video from Kenya explains oral Bible schools and the impact that they are having…. Read this in full at

My objective in life is not to have a spiritual life that is separate from the rest of my life.”
– Ed McCraken

Those who pursue righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.
– Proverbs 21:21 (CEB)

Words: John Newton, 1779
Music: Robert H. Earnshaw, 1856-1929

By faith in Christ I walk with God,
With Heav’n, my journey’s end, in view;
Supported by His staff and rod,
My road is safe and pleasant too.

I travel through a desert wide
Where many round me blindly stray;
But He vouchsafes to be my Guide,
And will not let me miss my way.

Though snares and dangers throng my path,
And earth and hell my course withstand;
I triumph over all by faith,
Guarded by His almighty hand.

The wilderness affords no food,
But God for my support prepares;
Provides me every needful good,
And frees my soul from wants and cares.

With Him sweet converse I maintain,
Great as He is I dare be free;
I tell Him all my grief and pain,
And He reveals His love to me.

Some cordial from His Word He brings,
Whene’er my feeble spirit faints;
At once my soul revives and sings,
And yields no more to sad complaints.

I pity all that worldlings talk
Of pleasures that will quickly end;
Be this my choice, O Lord, to walk
With Thee, my Guide, my Guard, my Friend.

>from NetHymnal at


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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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.) 

We’ll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.  
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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