Connecting man to man to God
For week of February 7, 2010
Issue 290


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.

Today's issue is going out to 1,917 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


“Then Job answered the Lord: ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted ... I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know ... I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.’"
Job 42:1-6


    
CONSIDER
“This life, therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed.”
Martin Luther


    
CHURCHES COMPETE WITH SPORTS BARS AND INTERNET FOR TOP PLACES TO MEET NEW FRIENDS
Americans believe they make more new friends in sports bars and restaurants rather than in churches. A survey of nearly 800 respondents, of whom more than three-quarters identified themselves as Christians, reveals that only 16% believe their church is "their favorite place to meet new friends."

"Our churches are losing ground to other venues for people-to-people connections," says Jon Vaughan, corporate marketing director of Group Publishing, the Colorado-based firm specializing in church resources, which commissioned the poll. "Since the Internet has become an integral element of our daily lives, pastors and church leaders must be more creative in facilitating social networking -- both face-to- face and through the Web."

Vaughan also believes there may be an underlying economic factor in the survey results. "Many people are struggling to make ends meet financially," says Vaughan. "If I'm working two jobs just to pay the bills, I want to maximize what little free time I have, and connect with people I can have fun with."

Vaughan notes the survey found several key factors that constitute friendly -- or unfriendly -- social settings:

- Making me feel like I belong (21%);
- Making me feel comfortable (16%);
- Making me feel at ease (15%);
- Conversation (14%);
- Smiles (11%); and
- Non-judgmental (6%)

Vaughan recognizes that some religious leaders will contend the church's primary purpose is to serve as a house of worship. However, he believes that to attract new members, churches must create "an inviting atmosphere with pastors and members welcoming newcomers."

With more than 300,000 Christian churches in the United States, people are able to "church shop" in their communities more than ever, Vaughan says.

"I meet frequently with pastors who wonder why visitors are reluctant to become members of their congregations," he says. "It may simply have to do with the perceived friendliness of the congregation."

Or the pastor. Respondents ranked ministers below several others as the friendliest people, including: close friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers.

"While these rankings are not surprising, it is interesting to note that the 'friendly index' of pastors was not much higher than hairstylists and store clerks," says Vaughan. "This survey clearly indicates the church in America must look for new and innovative ways to engage with its congregations."

Vaughan notes the survey found some good news for pastors: Respondents said churches were the second friendliest places in their communities behind their homes – 17% to 35%, respectively. Sports bars and restaurants placed third with 9 percent, followed by the grocery store (7%) and a coffee shop (5%). So while people may meet more new friends in a sports bar, the church is still seen as the friendlier place in general.

"We are committed to helping churches grow and become salt and light in their communities," says Vaughan, noting that Group Publishing has created a free six-week web-based series on "Becoming the Friendliest Place in Town." In addition, Group Publishing recently introduced Lifetree Café, "a weekly, hour-long online exchange of stories and conversations to feed the soul."

The online survey, conducted by Authentic Response, has a plus or minus error rate of 4 percentage points. For the complete survey results, visit
www.group.com/church2010


    
TONY DUNGY'S HIGHER CALLING
Tony Dungy, himself a deeply religious man, navigates a world in which sport was once viewed as vital to building character but now is dominated by the dollar, with all other considerations rendered secondary.

He speaks deliberately and enthusiastically over hot tea and orange juice. Tony Dungy maintains an unhurried demeanor, but his mind nevertheless is split between the past and the future: The self-recriminations of opportunity lost are balanced against the regenerative power of what is possible. He speaks with his hands, the large, nimble hands of a former athlete. His back is to the expanse of the dining room of The London, a boutique midtown hotel, and thus he is oblivious to the star-struck patrons gawking at him, pointing surreptitiously in recognition of little more than the back of Dungy's head.... Read this in full at
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=100128/TonyDungy


    
COLTS CHAPLAIN MAINTAINS CONTINUITY
Beyond their Super Bowl trophy, the Indianapolis Colts have had multiple coaches, players and playoff appearances the last eight years. But they've only had one chaplain, Ken Johnson, who first came to the Colts in 2002 at the request of then-head coach Tony Dungy. Johnson has remained the team's spiritual leader since Dungy's good friend and fellow believer Jim Caldwell took over as head coach.

"The goal is the same -- what is the moral compass of each player and how does that help them set a good foundation," Johnson says. Johnson came to Indianapolis to work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in their Urban Outreach unit. He has since launched a speaking ministry in schools and churches and written a book about his experiences, "Journey to Excellence," in which he recounts growing up in a drug-filled and dysfunctional household.... Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=32191


    
FRED LUTER SEES SAINTS' SPIRITUAL SIDE
Fred Luter Jr. has had a full plate during his decades-long calling as a pastor, including the last 23 years at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.

He survived Hurricane Katrina, which flooded the church building and scattered the congregation. He has been a second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention and a popular speaker at an array of Baptist gatherings. Now, add weekly chaplain to the New Orleans Saints.... Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=32190


    
KURT WARNER: JESUS BROUGHT ME HERE
Outspoken Christian Quarterback Kurt Warner announced his retirement from the National Football League Jan. 29, thanking God for the opportunities he received both on and off the field.

“As always, as it started in 1999 when I was up on the podium holding up a trophy, the first thing I want to do is give thanks to God,” Warner said during a press conference in Tempe, Ariz., referring to his widely-heard shout out to the Almighty following his Super Bowl win with the St. Louis Rams.

“My Lord Jesus brought me here. I know he brought me here for a purpose. And it’s been an amazing ride,” he added.

Though Hall of Fame-bound Warner stands out as one of the top quarterbacks in NFL history -– with an impressive list of achievements that includes three MVP awards, a Super Bowl win, and the second-highest completion percentage in NFL history –- Warner is most noted for his King David-esque rise to stardom, which was twice witnessed.

Not only did Warner go from stocking shelves at a grocery store in 1994 to winning a Super Bowl in 2000, he also returned to the spotlight after his time appeared to be up, leading the Arizona Cardinals to the franchises’ first-ever Super Bowl in 2009.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100130/kurt-warner-jesus-brought-me-here/index.html


    
'REDEFINED' NFL QUARTERBACK MICHAEL VICK TO STAR IN REALITY TV SERIES
For those who have been unconvinced by the hailed turnaround of professional football player Michael Vick and his self-professed return to Christ since his involvement in an illegal dogfighting operation was brought to light, the new BET reality series that he’ll be starring in should lay doubts to rest. Or it might fuel them.

“Life is about choices, making good judgments, good decisions,” says Vick in the promo for the documentary series. “I was top pick in the NFL. I had all types of endorsement deals. But along the way, I let everything come crashing down,” he continues.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100201/michael-vick-gets-new-reality-tv-series-on-bet/index.html


    
SPORTS FANATICS
Americans are consuming sports on an unprecedented scale. In 2006, Americans spent over $17 billion on tickets to sports contests and $90 billion on sporting goods, over double what they spent on books ($42 billion). Sports magazines take up prime space on bookstore shelves; the granddaddy of them all, Sports Illustrated, sells as many copies in a month (13.2 million) as To Kill a Mockingbird has sold since its publication in 1960. A tenth of The World Almanac is devoted to sports, more than is allocated for business, science, and politics combined.

None of this has been lost on evangelicals, who have been quick to harness sports to personal and institutional agendas. Less than a century ago, major segments of the evangelical community considered sports a cancer on the spiritual life; today their denominational progeny lead the parade to stadiums.

The cozy coupling of sports and evangelicalism shows itself not only in the outsized athletic complexes that are common features of church architecture, but also in the ease with which sport and its symbols show up in the sanctuary. Pastors incorporate pithy sports metaphors into their sermons. Famous athletes are invited to pulpits to tell how their faith helps them compete. Some churches celebrate Super Bowl Sunday by canceling the evening service and assembling in the sanctuary to watch the game on large-screen TVs. "Faith nights" sponsored by local baseball teams draw entire congregations to the ballpark. Evangelistic organizations that center on the public's fascination with sports flourish.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/february/3.20.html


    
GOD AND THE GRIDIRON? SOME ARE CRYING FOUL
Religion and sports haven’t always been on the same team; just ask any pastor who’s found members of his flock out on the links on a Sunday morning instead of in the pews. At the same time, sport evangelism ministries are more than half a century old, and even St. Paul turned to sports metaphors in talking about running “with endurance the race that is set before us.”

But Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow’s public expressions of faith -- from Bible verses painted on his face during games to the $2.5 million Super Bowl ad sponsored by Focus on the Family -- have sparked a range of questions about what’s appropriate when God meets the gridiron.

Some observers say Tebow has every right to appear in a Super Bowl commercial, even though they might question whether it’s the best way to share his views.

“It could very well be a great message, but is it a good venue?” asked Paul Louis Metzger, who teaches theology and culture at Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, Ore. “Is it helpful to the discussion, or does it up the volume, so to speak, on the culture war rhetoric?”

Some sports columnists have given Tebow a foul, saying the ad about a hot-button social issue is, well, out of bounds.... Read this in full at

http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/rnstext/god_and_the_gridiron_some_are_calling_foul/


    
MORE CHURCHES PROMOTE MARTIAL ARTS TO REACH YOUNG MEN
Evangelical churches are embracing mixed martial arts -- a sport with a reputation for violence and blood that combines kickboxing, wrestling and other fighting styles -- to reach and convert young men, whose church attendance has been persistently low. Mixed martial arts events have drawn millions of television viewers, and one was the top pay-per-view event in 2009.

Recruitment efforts at the churches, which are predominantly white, involve fight night television viewing parties and lecture series that use ultimate fighting to explain how Christ fought for what he believed in. Other ministers go further, hosting or participating in live events.

The goal, these pastors say, is to inject some machismo into their ministries -- and into the image of Jesus -- in the hope of making Christianity more appealing. “Compassion and love -- we agree with all that stuff, too,” said Brandon Beals, 37, the lead pastor at Canyon Creek Church outside of Seattle. “But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.”

The outreach is part of a larger and more longstanding effort on the part of some ministers who fear that their churches have become too feminized, promoting kindness and compassion at the expense of strength and responsibility.

“The man should be the overall leader of the household,” said Ryan Dobson, 39, a pastor and fan of mixed martial arts who is the son of James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, a prominent evangelical group. “We’ve raised a generation of little boys.” .... Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/us/02fight.html


    
BE A SUCCESS
“I learned early in life that if you want to get ahead, you have to work. Success, no matter how you define it, doesn't come easily. Most of us developed a solid work ethic in college. We worked long hours on summer jobs to save up for the coming school year. Many of us not only went to class and stayed up late doing our homework but held down part-time jobs as well. Sure, it wasn't easy, but it was what we did, what it took to become successful.

“Along the way, we met the love of our lives. Do you remember that instant when you fell head over heels and knew you had found the person you wanted to be with for the rest of your life? If you're like me, you would have done anything for them. Even though you were on a Steak and Shake budget, you'd work extra hours to be able to take them to a five-star restaurant (and that should have been a clue). Nothing was too good for them when it came to gifts, and no matter what it took, you would show up with something special you bought to show how much they meant to you.

“Your sweetheart most likely would have preferred spending those overtime hours with you, just sitting under a tree in the park. Ditto for your kids -- all those long days to buy the bigger house and the nicer car and what they really wanted was to wrestle with you on the living room floor when you came home for dinner.”
Louis Upkins Jr., Treat Me Like a Customer


    
AMERICA'S EVANGELICALS EXILED RICHARD CIZIK FOR INSUFFICIENT ORTHODOXY. NOW HE'S BACK, AND HE'S UNREPENTANT.
Richard Cizik remembers it this way: he had just come home from a week in Australia and was about to jet off to Paris when he sat down on Dec. 2, 2008 for his post-election interview with NPR’s Terry Gross. She opened by asking him who he voted for, and though he demurred, he offered a big hint. "In the Virginia primary, I voted for Barack Obama," he said.

A few minutes later, she asked the question that would cost Cizik his job: "Have you changed on gay marriage?"

"I'm shifting," Cizik answered, truthfully, "I have to admit. In other words, I would willingly say I believe in civil unions."

As the Washington lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals for nearly 30 years, Cizik should have known better. Even as polls continued to show a younger generation of Christians who were more accepting than their parents of homosexuality and gay marriage, the men who were running the old-school religious right remained completely and unequivocally opposed—and the NAE, an association of tens of thousands of churches, had always been positioned squarely within that flank. But for some time Cizik had been distancing himself from the old-timers, promoting global warming and environmentalism as Christian causes and supporting government-funded contraception as a way to reduce teen pregnancy. Religious-right stalwarts had long been calling out Cizik as insufficiently orthodox, but until now the NAE had his back.... Read this in full at
http://www.newsweek.com/id/232669


    
OBAMA FINDS WAYS TO KEEP THE FAITH DURING FIRST YEAR IN OFFICE
If church attendance is one measure of a man's faith, then President Obama may appear to have lost some of his. The first family, once regular churchgoers, have publicly attended services in Washington just three times in the past year, by ABC News' count, even bypassing the pews on Christmas Day.

Obama quit Chicago's embattled Trinity United Church of Christ months before taking office in 2008 and has not formally joined a new one in his new hometown.

But sources familiar with the president's personal life say Obama remains a faithful Christian while in the White House, practicing his beliefs regularly in private with family and the aid of his BlackBerry.

"Barack Obama is a Christian. He's always been clear and unapologetic about that, and he's comfortable with his own faith," Rev. Jim Wallis, an Obama friend and spiritual adviser, said. "But I think the president, particularly a president, needs the kind of pastoral care or spiritual counsel with people who don't have a political agenda. And it's hard for a president to get that."

Obama told ABC Nightline's Terry Moran that his personal BlackBerry, which he famously fought with the Secret Service to keep, has actually become a tool of keeping the faith during his first year in office.... Read this in full at
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-obamas-year-keeping-faith-white-house/story?id=9689272


    
AT NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST, OBAMA CALLS FOR A 'SPIRIT OF CIVILITY'
President Obama, making a pointed appeal for “a spirit of civility" at the annual National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 4, called on Americans to debate the most important issues without demonizing opponents. Civility, the president suggested, is not a sign of weakness.

“Surely you can question my policies without questioning my faith -– or, for that matter, my citizenship,"’ he said to laughter for his allusion to the persisting claims of some critics that the Hawaiian-born president is not a natural-born American, as the Constitution requires.

The president said “God’s grace" is expressed through the efforts of American military relief efforts in Haiti, through the military at large and through the actions of the government.

That grace is carried out “by Americans of every faith, and no faith, uniting around a common purpose -– a higher purpose," Obama said. “It’s inspiring. This is what we do as Americans in times of trouble. We unite, recognizing that such crises call on all of us to act, recognizing that there but for the grace of God go I."

Yet in everyday life, the president said, people become “numbed" by the slow pace of daily crises such as poverty.... Read this in full at
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dcnow/2010/02/at-national-prayer-breakfast-obama-calls-for-a-spirit-of-civility.html


    
STUDY SHOWS SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN AMERICAN FAMILIES GOING HUNGRY
Food-assistance agencies nationwide serve 1 million more people each week than they did four years ago, according to a new national study

The nation’s network of food banks and related agencies provide emergency food to 37 million people -- one American in eight -- including 14 million children and about 3 million senior adults, the study revealed. That’s a 46 percent increase over the number reported four years ago.

The Hunger in America 2010 report, a comprehensive four-year study conducted by Mathematic Policy Research for the Feeding America network, provides the first empirical data demonstrating “an undeniable connection between the recent economic recession and hunger,” said Jan Pruitt, president of the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas. “Hunger across our nation is growing by leaps and bounds,” she said.

More than one household in three served by charitable agencies nationwide experiences “very low food security” -- a 54 percent increase in the number of households classified that way compared to 2006.... Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/4797/53/


    
ON REPENTANCE
“Repentance is the doorway to the spiritual life, the only way to begin. It is also the path itself, the only way to continue. Anything else is foolishness and self-delusion. Only repentance is both brute-honest enough, and joyous enough, to bring us all the way home.”
Frederica Mathewes-Green, from her essay, "Both Door and Path"


    
EVANGELICALS STAKE LEWIS' CLAIM ON LIBERAL MASS. TURF
At the point where Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts come together, and about a mile from a forest called Satans Kingdom, Northfield, Mass., isn't exactly what you'd call a hotbed of either conservatives or evangelicals.

Yet when a new evangelical college opens there in 2012, founders hope to help end acrimonious culture wars and usher in a new era of cultural engagement marked by Christian charity.

Named for a celebrated Christian author who counted atheists and skeptics among his closest friends, C.S. Lewis College will intentionally seek to prepare believers to engage and understand those who see the world differently.

The school's location near five secular and famously liberal colleges will allow students to follow Lewis' example and learn from their non-Christian neighbors, according to C.S. Lewis Foundation President Stan Mattson, who unveiled plans for the school in December.

"The problem for so much of our relationship with the secular community is we set up these debates (where) neither side is listening to the opposition, and both are waiting to see who scores points," said Mattson, who will be the school's first president.

"We need to go in a very different direction. We will be much more inclined to set up forums where people can engage each other openly, out of genuine interest to discover more of what the other party is talking about.".... Read this in full at
http://pewforum.org/news/display.php?NewsID=19525


    
POLL: GRAHAM MOST INFLUENTIAL PREACHER
He has preached the gospel to more than 200 million people in 185 lands and, at 91, still maintains that his one purpose in life is "to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ."

Billy Graham, whose crusade in Los Angeles in 1949 vaulted him into the public square, is far and away the top living preacher that has most influenced Protestant pastors, according to a survey released Feb. 2 by LifeWay Research.

In telephone interviews conducted in November 2009, Protestant pastors were asked to "name the top three living Christian preachers that most influence you." Twenty-one percent of pastors surveyed said Graham -- nearly three times the number who named Charles R. Swindoll, prominent pastor, author, and host of the radio Bible-teaching ministry Insight for Living.

Rounding out the top 10, after Graham and Swindoll, are:
-- Charles Stanley, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta, and founder of In Touch Ministries.

-- Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., and author of the best-selling book, "The Purpose-Driven Life."

-- John MacArthur, pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., and president and featured teacher of the Grace to You ministry.

-- Barbara Brown Taylor, religion teacher at Piedmont College in northeast Georgia and author of 12 books including "An Altar in the World."

-- David Jeremiah, founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in San Diego County, Calif.

-- Max Lucado, minister of writing and preaching at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, and the recipient of three Christian Book of the Year awards.

-- John Piper, pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and author of more than 30 books, including "Desiring God."

-- Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Community Church, Buckhead Church, and Browns Bridge Community Church -- all in the Atlanta area -- and founder of North Point Ministries.... Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=32197

The film “Billy: The Early Years” releases on DVD March 16, 2010
http://www.billytheearlyyears.com/


    
GOD'S REDEMPTIVE PROJECT
“Your flourishing is never just about you. It is a "so that" kind of condition. God designed you to flourish "so that" you could be part of his redemptive project in ways that you otherwise could not. He wants you to flourish "so that" people can be encouraged, gardens can be planted, music can be written, sick people can be helped, or companies can thrive in ways they otherwise would not. When you fail to become the person God designed, all the rest of us miss out on the gift you were made to give.

“Jesus once said that with God, all things are possible, and the great thing about life with God is that your next step is always possible. That step toward God is always waiting, no matter what you have done or how you have messed up your life. Jesus was hanging on a cross with a thief hanging next to him, and Jesus turned to him and said, ‘Today you will be with me in paradise.’"
John Ortberg, The Me I Want to Be


    
KEN HAM DELIVERS 'STATE OF THE NATION' FEB. 16, OFFERS BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
Following President Obama's annual "State of the Union" address, biblical apologist Ken Ham will soon offer his "State of the Nation" speech, highlighting how far the US has wandered from its moral foundations, and calling Christians back to their biblical roots.

Ham, president of Answers in Genesis (AiG), the biblical apologetics ministry responsible for the Creation Museum near Cincinnati, will present his speech from inside the Creation Museum and via webcast live at 8 pm EST, Tuesday, Feb. 16. Those wishing to tune in may do so at
http://www.answerslive.org


    
VERSE TO PONDER
“Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed."
1 Peter 1:13


    
CONSIDER
“Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.”
Barbara Johnson


    
SENATE CHAPLAIN: RELIGIOUS LEADER FOR SECULAR FLOCK
Most mornings, after the gavel is struck in the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill, a prayer is offered in that most secular body -- a practice that goes back to the founding fathers at the Continental Congress in 1774.

Chaplain Barry C. Black delivers the prayer, offering up some of the first words heard each day in the chamber.

Black works from an office in the Capitol building, a well-appointed room with high, arched ceilings and wall-to-wall mahogany bookcases. Compared with the number of people working for senators, the chaplain's staff is downright humble. He has an executive assistant, a director of communications and a chief of staff.

But from this third-floor perch in the Capitol building, Black enjoys one of the best views of the National Mall's mosaic of cherry trees, museums and monuments.... Read this in full at
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122872399


    
CHILDREN'S BIBLE NAMED A NOTABLE CHILDREN'S RECORDING BY ALA
The children's division of the American Library Association (ALA) has selected The Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition from Zondervan for this year's list of Notable Children's Recordings. The recordings, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and read by award-winning British actor David Suchet, are geared for children 14 years old or younger. The audio version of the best-selling Jesus Storybook Bible was released as part of The Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition last October and was among more than 130 recordings up for consideration by the ALSC. Lloyd-Jones credited much of the recording's success to Suchet's work. "And he didn't just read it. It was as if he was telling a story to a child he loved very much, he acted it, he poured his Christian faith, his heart and soul, and his incredible talent into the story." The recording features 44 stories from the storybook Bible.
http://www.jesusstorybookbible.com/


    
AIR FORCE BUILDS WORSHIP SPACE FOR WICCANS
The US Air Force Academy in Colorado will set aside a worship space for followers of "Earth-centered" religions such as Wicca and Druidism. A stone circle atop a hill on the base in Colorado Springs will likely be dedicated in a ceremony March 10. The site will be available to cadets and other service members who live in the area. The base already has worship spaces for Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, and Buddhist.

The Air Force has been accused of allowing evangelical officers to openly proselytize and pressure cadets of other faiths. In 2005, the Air Force issued new guidelines pledging to "accommodate free exercise of religion and other personal beliefs." Tech. Sgt. Brandon Longcrier, who worked with academy officials to create the space, said, "There really haven't been any obstacles for the new circle. The chaplain's office has been 100 percent supportive.".... Read this in full at
http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2010/01/air-force-builds-worship-space.php


    
THE MASCULINE MANDATE: GOD'S CALLING TO MEN
There is a crying need in the church today for men to be men. But competing visions for what a man is to be -- some growing out of popular culture and others arising from flawed teaching in the church -- are exacerbating the problem.

In the foreword, Jerry Bridges says Richard D. Phillips "gives us an accurate picture of what it means to be God's man. The reader will come away reassured that even though he may possess none of the attributes that the world deems essential for a 'man's man,' nevertheless he can be one of God's men."

The Bible alone has the answer to what men are to be in the eyes of their Creator. In his newest book from Reformation Trust Publishing, Rev. Richard D. Phillips avoids the stereotypes and legalistic rules while unfolding with clarity and practical simplicity the biblical vision of men. Here is sound biblical exposition of the most practical sort -- teaching that reveals not only what men are to think but what they are to be. Read the first chapter at
http://www.ligonier.org/store/the-masculine-mandate-gods-calling-to-men-hardcover/


    
AUTHOR WORRIES ONLINE COMMUNITIES ARE HURTING REAL ONES
When it comes to Facebook, Jesse Rice sees an immensely popular social networking site that's great for sharing photos and keeping in touch with friends.

He also sees something that encourages attitudes and behaviors that don't work as well in real life.

Rice, 37, is the author of "The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community." A former worship leader an evangelical megachurch in California, he has degrees in organizational communication and counseling/psychology and -- just as important to his readers -- a sense of humor.

On a video he uploaded to YouTube, he explains his credentials for writing the book. "I can look at various parts of an organization, at the flow of communication back and forth within the independent structure, and I can identify all the ways that it's your parents' fault," he quips.

And "I have an actual Facebook account with well over 100 friends."
Yes, he acknowledges that some people have 6 million fans on a Facebook fan page. "But, back off, Vin Diesel," he snarls. "It is possible to be too fast and too furious."

Actually, being too fast to judge others and too furious to write a well-considered post are two ways Facebook thwarts meaningful community, according to Rice, who argues that Facebook redefines the term altogether.... Read this in full at
http://pewforum.org/news/display.php?NewsID=19588


    
CONSIDER
“This is a cheerful world as I see it from my garden under the shadows of my vines. But if I were to ascend some high mountain and look out over the wide lands, you know very well what I would see: brigands on the highways, pirates on the sea, armies fighting, cities burning; in the amphitheaters men murdered to please applauding crowds; selfishness and cruelty and misery and despair under all roofs. It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life.  They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world.
These people, Donatus ,are the Christians- and I am one of them.” Cyprian


    
VERSE TO PONDER
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.”
Psalm 46:1-2 (KJV)


    
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: MORE LOVE TO THEE, O CHRIST
Words: Elizabeth P. Prentiss, 1856
Music: W. Howard Doane, 1870

More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek, give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Let sorrow do its work, come grief or pain;
Sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise;
This be the parting cry my heart shall raise;
This still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/m/o/morelove.htm


     ON PRAYER
God, there is so much war, so much violence, so much conflict -- too much. And it is the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer even more as a result: in displacement, in victimization, in loss of life. We lift up our brothers and sisters whose lives are most impacted by such circumstances. Bring peace to their lives, to their societies, to their worlds, Lord. And as we commit to walking with the poor, give us opportunities to stand with them and to stand for them. We pray all this in the name and power of the Prince of Peace, amen.


     PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
http://christiansincrisis.net/


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

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

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

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

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

[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you'd like the church guys to pray for your safety and spiritual effectiveness. I'll add your name to the list for the time you'll be away.]


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

Book your next vacation with us!
Http://www.ChristianConnectionTravel.com

Books, Music & More!
http://www.ChristianConnectionBooks.com

Get your domain name here!
http://www.GoGlobalDomains.com

Let me show you how to earn money as you travel!
http://www.earnGlobalVacations.com/
It's as easy as 1-2-3!


     SHARE YOUR FAVORITE WEBSITES
Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

Match the country names with their map locations
http://www.rethinkingschools.org/just_fun/games/mapgame.html

Flags by their colors
http://shaheeilyas.com/flags/

10 Strangest Trees on Earth
http://zuzutop.com/2010/01/10-strangest-trees-on-earth/

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.)


Tomorrow is just a future yesterday.
Min. Frank Coleman, Editor
Rev.frank@gmail.com


Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!

----------

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

-----------

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

----------

Subscribe!
Subscribe to CONNECTIONS here

Get Archives of all past issues here:
http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/connections/archives_all.html

Check out my blog