Connecting man to man to God
For week of January 31, 2010
Issue 289

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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Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
1 Timothy 6:12

We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God.”
A. W. Tozer

Feb. 7, 2010; Dolphin Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
CBS television and radio

Super Bowl XLIV will be played Feb. 7 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., a Miami suburb. To commemorate this occasion, the Census Bureau has compiled a collection of facts examining the demographics of the host city, as well as the cities represented by the contenders, in this year’s edition of our nation’s most celebrated sporting event.

With the mail-out of 2010 Census questionnaires slightly more than a month away, the Census Bureau will run three ads promoting census awareness during the Super Bowl telecast -- two during the pregame show and one during the third quarter.

Churches planning a 2010 Super Bowl party will want to pay attention to 3 rules that will help protect them from being penalized by the NFL, which is cracking down on use of its copyright.

1. The game must be shown on equipment that the church regularly uses in the course of ministry. So, if the church already owns a big screen and sound equipment, the game can be shown using this equipment.

2. The church cannot charge admission for the party. The NFL has said, however, the church may take up a donation to defray the cost of the event if it desires.

3. To avoid any copyright infringements, churches may want to call their events a "Big Game Party" rather than a "Super Bowl Party."

Tim Tebow, who just finished his college football career at Florida, will appear with his mother in an ad paid for by Focus on the Family. According to reports, Tebow's mother will describe how she was advised to have an abortion but chose to give birth to him. Pro-choice groups are upset, and CBS defends its plans to air the ad.

In other Super Bowl news, Erwin McManus, pastor at Mosaic in California, produced a commercial for Doritos, which is offering up to $5 million in prizes to winners. McManus's ad is among six finalists.

The ad portrays a man who stages a funeral so he can eat Doritos in a casket. "It's a miracle and a divine comedy that we've made it this far," McManus told USA Today. "I think it's God's sense of humor." See the video at

by Philip Yancey
When I turned 50, I had a complete physical checkup. Doctors poked, prodded, x-rayed, and even cut open parts of my body to assess and repair the damage I had done. At the same time, I scheduled a spiritual checkup, too. I went on a silent retreat led by a wise spiritual director.

In those days of solitude, I pondered what I needed to change to keep my soul in shape. The more I listened, the longer grew the list. Here is a mere sampling, a portion of a spiritual action plan for my next 50 years.

* Question your doubts as much as your faith. By personality, or perhaps as a reaction to a fundamentalist past, I brood on doubts and experience faith in occasional flashes. Isn't it about time for me to reverse the pattern?

* Do not attempt this journey alone. Like many Protestants, I easily assume the posture of one person alone with God, a stance that more and more I see as unbiblical. The Old Testament tells the story of the people of God; Jesus' parables unveil the kingdom; the epistles went primarily to communities of faith. We have little guidance on how to live as a follower alone because God never intended it.... Read this in full at

They dwell in their own countries but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on the earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws in their lives. They love all, and are persecuted by all. They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are completely destitute, and yet they enjoy complete abundance. They are reviled, and yet they bless. When they do good they are punished as evildoers; undergoing punishment, they rejoice because they are brought to life.”
Epistle to Diognetus, author unknown, written about AD 130

Here's an assignment for you. When you go to work tomorrow, find a way to cheat one of your best customers. If you're a salesman, overcharge your best client. If you're a lawyer, leak some privileged information about your top client to the media. If you manage someone's investments, skim a little off his profit and into your own pockets.

Pretty absurd, right? Cheating your customer is a good way to lose that customer, get fired, or land in jail. Or all three. Recent news of high-level scandals in business notwithstanding, you simply cannot be successful in your work if you cheat. At least not for very long. Eventually, dishonesty catches up with you, and when it does the results are disastrous. Whatever reputation you have earned in your line of work, one slip in the area of integrity and you can spend the rest of your career trying to repair the damage. And because your behavior is a reflection on the company you represent, responsible businesses expect you to be honest and trustworthy, often spelling this out in ethics policies.

Integrity is not just a fancy word but something we need to work at and integrate into practically every decision we make. More important, it is something so vital that we are willing to go the extra mile to protect our good reputations. I'm sure you could also tell stories of being tempted to cut ethical corners and choosing instead to take the high road.”
Louis Upkins Jr., Treat Me Like A Customer

Heated debate. Loss of faith. Religious discord. Questions about death, the universe, and our place in it.

According to a new film, Charles Darwin saw, and wrestled with, all of that and more as the implications of his theory of evolution became clear for society as a whole, but even more so, within his own family.

Creation,” a film by director Jon Amiel that opened Jan. 22, introduces Darwin as a 40-something father working on his seminal work, “On the Origin of Species,” which laid out his theory that would revolutionize society’s understandings of human history.

Darwin (Paul Bettany) is haunted by the recent death of his daughter Annie (Martha West). His grief, along with his gradual loss of faith, creates a gulf between Darwin and his beloved wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly), a devout Christian.

Two people who adore and respect each other are driven into opposite corners by firstly a desperate loss, the loss of a child,” Amiel said in an interview.... Read this in full at

When Colt McCoy of the University of Texas expressed his faith in an interview following the Longhorns’ BCS championship game loss to Alabama Jan. 7, the quarterback placed himself in a growing cadre of Christian athletes becoming increasingly vocal about their commitment to Jesus Christ.

I always give God the glory,” said McCoy, who was knocked out of the game -- the last of his college career -- by a shoulder injury, probably contributing to his team’s defeat. “I never question why things happen the way they do. God is in control of my life. And I know that if nothing else, I’m standing on the Rock.”

Highly publicized expressions of faith have become standard fare in college and professional sports at least since 1977, the year running back Herb Lusk dropped to one knee after scoring a touchdown for his Philadelphia Eagles. The end-zone prayer often is cited as the first to be televised across the nation.

Many Christians find those high-profile testimonies encouraging, prominently featuring evangelical sports figures in worship services and evangelistic conferences. The trend prompted writer Tom Krattenmaker to call big-time sports “one of the most outwardly religious sectors of American culture.”.... Read this in full at

Making the sign of the cross before swinging at a baseball pitch, kneeling in prayer after making it to the end zone and thanking God in post-game press conferences are among frequent practices observed by professional athletes. Tom Krattenmaker, author of "Onward Christian Athletes," says many ballparks have been turned into pulpits and players into preachers. It is a reality that some say has become all too common.... Read this in full at

The walls of Jay Underwood's office are lined with books and textbooks about the Bible. There is even a large Bible on his desk. Behind his desk are photos of his family. Prints of Field & Stream magazine covers line the walls. A child's drawing is tacked to a shelf. Outside his office, a large entryway leads into a brightly lit sanctuary lined with pews. Next door to the church are mountains of logs waiting to be milled into lumber.

There is little evidence in this environment -- the church where he is pastor and the town where he lives -- of the career Underwood spent 20 years pursuing.

For the past two years, Underwood has worked as pastor at First Baptist Church of Weaverville. He is low-key about his former career as a movie and television actor, said Dan Beans, a deacon at the church. "Probably not many people know he was an actor, unless they come to church," Beans said.

Underwood's list of credits include television episodes of "The West Wing," "The X Files," "Star Trek: Voyager," "Murder, She Wrote," "ER" and "21 Jump Street" and such movies as "The Boy Who Could Fly," "Desert Bloom," "Uncle Buck," "The Invisible Kid," "The Cylinder" and "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" But that's all in the past, Beans said.... Read this in full at

Do you have an unanswered prayer? Not just a small daily request, but a major heartbreaking, soul-wrenching, tear-soaking prayer that God has not answered? I do. And as I have wrestled with it, my thoughts at times have been in turmoil: Does God really love me? Has He heard me? Does He care? If He cares, is He unable to answer? Have I done something to displease Him? Why doesn't God answer my prayer? And I have been confronted with the temptation to blame God, to resent God, to turn away from God -- to just stop praying because He doesn't seem to be answering anyway.

As I have struggled with my "why?" I have sought answers in God's Word. With loving patience and gentle wisdom, He has led me to John 11 and the story of Martha's "unanswered prayer" in order to teach me to trust Him when I just don't understand.”
Anne Graham Lotz, Into the Word

Without digging a single shovel of dirt, archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer found the location of Solomon's Temple with a keen eye, biblical and historical knowledge, and a tape measure.

Later, Ritmeyer became one of the leading scholars in Temple Mount research. And it all started with one unique stone.

According to Ritmeyer, the original Temple Mount platform measured 500 cubits by 500 cubits. The "royal cubit" used for the temple was 20.67 inches long. Later, King Herod expanded the platform on the Temple Mount, doubling its size. It is the expanded, Herodian platform that tourists in Jerusalem visit today. The current platform has two levels. Eight staircases lead from the lower level to the higher level where the Muslim Dome of the Rock shrine stands.... Read this in full at

Almost from the day Gayle Haggard learned in early November 2006 that her famous evangelical husband, Ted Haggard, had a secret life of drug use and homosexual liaisons, she knew she would try to forgive him.

That's what Christians do, she writes in her book, "Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour." The candid memoir’s official release was Jan. 26. Gayle Haggard says she searched her memory, journal and records to answer this question: "Will I be the woman who washes her hands of the situation and walks away from Ted, or will I be the woman who loves him and shows forgiveness? The choice was mine." Christians forgive, she says.... Read this in full at

We know about American missionaries going to Africa. Now African missionaries from Nigeria are coming to the US, they say, to restore Christianity and morality. At last count, the Nigerians had more than 400 Redeemed Christian Churches in North America alone, with more on the way. Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly explores how the Nigerians have managed to do this and how their leaders have the energy and money to keep growing.... Read and see this in full at

Question: I’m a new Christian, and I want to learn more from the Bible. I have an old Bible that belonged to my grandmother, and it’s difficult to understand. Where do I begin? How can I get more out of reading the Bible? 

Answer: It’s great to hear about your desire to read God’s Word. Many Christians long to know more about the Bible, but like you, they feel frustrated because of the strange words and unusual writing styles. If you’re reading an older version, such as the King James Version, the Bible can feel particularly foreign to you. How can you begin to understand what you are reading? 
The first step is to purchase a Bible that you can use at home and at church. You might ask your pastor what version he uses when he preaches. It’s helpful to own a copy of the same version so that you can follow along during his sermon.... Read this in full at

Christian bookstores are seeing theft increase in the down economy, and the most often target are -- surprisingly -- Bibles. "I can see the need people have, they need to buy more but don't have the means to do it," said Maria Obregon, store manager for Noah's Ark Christian Bookstore in San Antonio, Texas. Obregon looks at the thefts with optimism. "So I just bless them that they can [use it] and read it," she said. The store's Bibles range in price from $10 to $70, but Obregon says she often gives discounts on Bibles, even handing them out for free to new believers. Still, she acknowledges that the pricey thefts have an impact. "It hurts the cash register," Obregon said.... Read this in full at

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20

We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to live all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God. That is what the Christian life is all about.”
R. C. Sproul

At some point during the past two years the United States experienced its 50 millionth legal abortion, the overwhelming majority of which were conducted for reasons of convenience.

The tragic statistic -- which spans the 37 years since the US Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973 -- is based on data compiled by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute and tallied by the National Right to Life Committee. Guttmacher's data is respected by both sides of the issue and comes directly from abortion clinics.

The mark of 50 million was passed in 2008 and likely approached or reached 52 million in 2009, although data is not yet available for that year. The 50 million figure actually is an estimate based on Guttmacher data from 2005 -- the last year of data -- when 1.2 million abortions were performed. The abortion rate ranged between 1.2 and 1.3 million from 2000 to 2005. If the same number of abortions performed in 2005 were performed in each succeeding year, then the number stood at 52 million at the end of last year.... Read this in full at

by David Daleiden and Jon A. Shields
Abortion rights activists have long preferred to hold themselves at some remove from the practice they promote; rather than naming it, they speak of “choice” and “reproductive freedom.” But those who perform abortions have no such luxury. Instead, advances in ultrasound imaging and abortion procedures have forced providers ever closer to the nub of their work. Especially in abortions performed far enough along in gestation that the fetus is recognizably a tiny baby, this intimacy exacts an emotional toll, stirring sentiments for which doctors, nurses, and aides are sometimes unprepared. Most apparently have managed to reconcile their belief in the right to abortion with their revulsion at dying and dead fetuses, but a noteworthy number have found the conflict unbearable and have defected to the pro-life cause.... Read this in full at

After enduring some of the worst economic conditions in modern history, many businesses, families and other charitable organizations are coming out of panic mode and adapting to the “new normal.” A Barna Group study with 1,114 pastors and church executives, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2009, explored how congregations and churches are coping with the economic downturn.

Most Protestant churches reported that the economy negatively affected their financial resources over the last year, resulting in an average decline of 7% across all such congregations. The Barna study shows there have been three major ways that churches have attempted to weather the downturn:

* Reducing spending – Roughly one out of every five churches (21%) have cut their spending to compensate for diminished revenue. In addition to budget reductions, pastors indicated that they were watching spending, conserving more, shopping for better deals, eliminating non-essentials, freezing portions of the budget, re-evaluating vendors. Each of these types of slices to spending was mentioned by 2% to 3% of pastors. 

* Cutting staffing and missions – A second type of reduction that churches made related to people, primarily staff members but also including missionary partners. In all, about one out of every six churches (18%) indicated that they had to eliminate positions, reduce salaries, rely on more volunteer time, and cut hours from full-time to part-time. Also, nearly one in every 25 churches said they had reduced their giving to missions or missionaries.

* Reducing facility budgets – One of the least commonly reported adaptations was to related to church buildings and facilities (3%). These types of alterations included scaling back a building plan, eliminating a planned project altogether, delaying construction, making better use of existing facilities, delaying upgrades of equipment, and deferring maintenance and repairs.

Nearly half of church leaders (45%) said they had not made any changes to their ministry as a result of the economic problems of the last year.... Read this in full at

Snow has forced Ohio's Christian cowboys inside on an early spring day. Bull riders aren't the sort of people who complain about the elements, but there are certain drawbacks to setting up a church for cowboys in northeastern Ohio.

Pastor Royce Gregory, who tackled "1,800 pounds of mean" on the rodeo circuit for 17 years before turning his life to God, isn't worried about attendance. His pulpit, an engraved tan saddle perched on spindly metal legs, stands before a wooden cross ringed with a crown of thorns. It's a symbol, he says, of the simple message of faith that is turning cowboy churches like his into a national movement.

"A lot of pastors don't like me and don't like the idea of [the cowboy church]," Mr. Gregory says, referring to mainstream religious leaders in a part of the country not exactly lacking in places of worship. "But if you read the Bible, it is simple. It's only man that made church hard."

Such is the ethos of cowboy church, which is bringing come-as-you-are evangelical Christianity to the boots-and-Stetson set.

Faith and the Western way of life have long been linked. But in recent years cowboy churches have adopted a distinct identity -- favoring riding arenas and barns instead of church buildings, carrying out baptisms in horse troughs, welcoming wranglers whose blue jeans are ripe with the smell of a working ranch -- that has allowed them to grow faster than their founders thought possible.... Read this in full at

The report, compiled by the research and statistics department of the Archbishops’ Council, also found half of those in the pews are pensioners. Some rural congregations were older than 65 on average, while the youngest Anglicans were found in London, with the ‘standard’ churchgoer aged 54. It compares with the population as a whole where the average adult age is 48.

This is the first year in which the Church has analyzed the ages of its congregations in detail, so no long-term trends can be determined. However, weekly church attendance continues to fall according to separate figures published on Friday. Around 1.14 million people went to a church service at least once a week in 2008, the latest figures show, but average Sunday attendance was down to 960,000 from 978,000 the previous year.... Read this in full at

Religious faith stood out as an important characteristic of American life from the beginning.These days, many Americans consider faith as a kind of quality-of-life issue -- a significant factor for those who practice, but entirely personal. It turns out, though, that the practice of religion benefits all of us.

The scope and scale of these good consequences are relatively straightforward. In the non-financial sphere, for example, faith tends to lead to happiness and optimism. More surprisingly, faith produces financial rewards. In a nutshell, research shows a positive correlation between income and religious practice.

Surveys typically find that, on average, those who practice Judeo-Christian faith traditions do better financially than non-religious people, all other things being equal. The General Social Survey found that in 2004, the average "religious person" -- someone who attends a house of worship at least once a week -- had an income 8 percent higher than the average "secularist," someone who attends once a year at most.

But does going to church "cause" your income to rise? Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, figured out an ingenious way to isolate and examine what researchers call "causal effects."

The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.” Martin Luther (1483-1546), Luther's Ninety-five Theses, Harold J. Grimm, ed., Fortress Press, 1957, thesis #62, p. 14
See all 95 theses at

Near-death experiences have long been a fascinating phenomenon, prompting more questions than answers. According to a Gallup poll, between 8 to 12 million Americans—around 5%—say they’ve had a near-death experience. Despite these substantial numbers, most scientists are at a loss to explain these events. Dr. Jeffrey Long, a radiation oncologist, has spent the last 12 years studying over a thousand cases of near-death experience. In his new book, EVIDENCE OF THE AFTERLIFE: The Science of Near-Death Experiences (HarperOne, 2010), Dr. Long provides scientific evidence that supports what many have long suspected: near-death experiences provide proof that life continues after we die.... Read this in full at
also see

TIME: Is There Such a Thing as Life After Death?,8599,1955636,00.html

People should think less about what they ought to do and more about what they ought to be. If only their being were good, their works would shine forth brightly.”
Meister Eckhart

You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.”
Psalm 92:4 (NLT)

Words: William R. Featherston, 1864 (he wrote it when he was 16)
Music: Adoniram J. Gordon, 1876

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

>from NetHymnal at

Prayer is not getting man's will done in heaven, but getting God's will done on earth. It is not overcoming God's reluctance but laying hold of God's willingness.”
Richard C. Trench


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 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.]

Are you looking for something or do you have something to sell? Let me know and I'll put it in this newsletter.

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Let me show you how to earn money as you travel!
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Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

Church Swindoll video on “Walking Well”

World Clock


How to tie a tie

How to tie a bow tie

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 day is like a suitcase: the same size, but some people can pack a lot more into it.

Min. Frank Coleman, Editor

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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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