Connecting man to man to God
For week of February 21, 2010
Issue 292

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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“We love because God first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

“A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers.”
Ruth Bell Graham, poet, philanthropist, and wife of evangelist Billy Graham

Several church bodies are tying a worldwide campaign for safe water to this year’s Lenten season. The National Council of Churches, with partners Church World Service and Lifewater International, has created a website ( dedicated to encouraging Christians to remember the millions around the world who do not have access to clean water.

The organizations are reminding Christians that some women in Africa and Asia walk 3.7 miles a day to obtain water, and unclean water is the root cause of around 80% of the sicknesses in developing countries. Unclean water is behind the deaths of 5,000 children each day.... Read this in full at

The Bishop of London is encouraging Christians to give up something more significant than chocolate or Facebook this Lenten season. He's encouraging them to give up carbon instead. The Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres, along with the head of anti-poverty movement Micah Challenge International, Joel Edwards, encouraged Londoners to look at their carbon footprint. "It's the poorest people in developing countries, who have done the least to cause climate change, being hit hardest by its devastating consequences. It is all of our responsibility to help reverse this injustice," he said. "Climate change is everybody's problem and everybody's solution. For millions of the poorest people in the world climate change is not a matter of debate, it's a matter of livelihood, life and death." .... Read this in full at

Today's young adults are less "churchy" than their parents and grandparents, but not necessarily less spiritual. The demographic age group 18-29, called "Millennials" in the study, is significantly less likely to identify with a particular faith, but pray as much as preceding generations did at the same age. Meanwhile, church attendance as steadily declined over the past two generations. "They may be less religious, but they're not necessarily more secular" than the Generation Xers or Baby Boomers who preceded them, says Alan Cooperman of Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, which collected the 2008 data. A solid 40% of Millennials said religion is very important in their lives, compared to 39% of Boomers at the same ages. Forty-one percent said they pray daily, compared to 42% of Gen Xers as young adults.... Read this in full at

Derek Spain serves as the official chaplain for the US Winter Olympic team. Spain, a Georgia native who now ministers in Lake Placid, N.Y., also is the spiritual mentor and pastor to U.S. bobsled driver John Napier, himself a believer who Spain led to a closer walk with Christ over the last year as Napier trained to compete in the Vancouver Olympics.

Since his teen years, Spain has worked himself up from parking lot attendant, ticket taker and track sweeper at the winter Olympic Training Center at Lake Placid, the site of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games and a mecca for aspiring winter Olympians.... Read this in full at

Olympic gold medalist Chad Hedrick certainly thinks he has the ability to contend for more hardware at this year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

But more important than medals to Hedrick is the opportunity this year's Olympics will give him to talk about his newfound faith in Jesus Christ, and to show the world the way in which the Lord has changed him.

"I want people to see God in my life," Hedrick said.... Read this in full at

Also “Hedrick's skate blade carries reminder”

Have you made amends to anyone lately? In this Video Insight, Chuck Swindoll explains what can weigh us down and keep us from being right with God. See and hear his message at

Olympics fans heading to Vancouver might want to visit a vanishing cultural treasure while they're in Canada -- local churches. Canada has become a "post-Christian society" where once-dominant Anglicanism has "moved to the margins of public life," according to a bleak study reported by Michael Valpy at the Globe and Mail.
A new assessment of the state of the church in Canada looks at the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia and then across the country and concludes that,... at the present rate of decline -- a loss of 13,000 members per year -- only one Anglican would be left in Canada by 2061.... Nationally, between 1961 and 2001, the church lost 53% of its membership, declining to 642,000 from 1.36 million. Between 1991 and 2001 alone, it declined by 20%.... Read this in full at

Avid sportsmen tend not to blend in as well at church as they do in the woods, the Rev. Maury De Young said. Many hunters prefer being in a tree stand on the weekends, scanning for big bucks or other game, rather than sitting in church, said De Young, executive director of Walker, MI-based Sportspersons Ministries International.

And too often they get a bad rap from more ardent churchgoers, who criticize their lack of participation and “beer-drinking image,” he said.

Still, many of these outdoor people are believers. They simply have different priorities.... Read this in full at

The National Council of Churches' 2010 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches reports membership gains in the Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Assemblies of God, among others.

The 78th annual edition of the Yearbook also reports a continuing decline in membership of virtually all mainline denominations. And the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's second largest denomination and long a reliable generator of church growth, reported a decline in membership for the second year in a row, down 0.24% to 16,266,920.

The Catholic Church, the nation's largest at more than 68 million members, also reported a slight membership loss in 2009 but rebounded this year with a robust growth of 1.49%.... Read this in full at

Rick Steves got into the travel business by teaching travel classes at the University of Washington in Seattle and working as a tour leader in the summers. His 1979 book Europe Through the Back Door emphasized how to cut costs and encouraged travelers to avoid prepackaged tours and encounter local cultures in a more authentic way. His TV shows about European destinations have aired frequently on public television. Steves, a Lutheran, whose business is based in Edmonds, Washington, just published Travel as a Political Act, a series of "field reports" from Europe, Central America, Asia and the Middle East.

Q: What motivates you to teach people about traveling?
A: To me, travel is a spiritual thing, and I try to create an environment in which people will feel free to consider the effects that travel has on their spirituality. It is a challenge to do that while working in a secular environment.

My desire has always been to inflict on comfortable Americans situations that they have never encountered before in the hope that they will gain an appreciation of their place in the world. I decided on forming a secular tour company, however, because I like to act as a Trojan horse in that regard.

Q: What effect does travel have on people's spirituality?
A: People have a lot of fear. The flip side of fear is understanding. When you travel to places new to you, you understand more, so you fear less. And then you can love people, as a Christian should. The less you travel, the more likely that media with a particular agenda can shape your viewpoint. Those of us who travel are a little more resilient when it comes to weathering the propaganda storms that blow constantly across the US media.... Read this in full at

by John Ortberg
I have been thinking a lot lately about Colossians 1, where Paul writes: "We proclaim Christ, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this reason I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." It strikes me that this comes close to a creedal text for those of us involved in church ministry. Sometimes we get so immersed in the X's and O's of church work that we forget to step back and ask what's the real reason we're doing all this. Paul has great clarity on it, and is more concise than usual: "so that we may present everyone mature in Christ."

If your church is looking for a big hairy audacious goal, this will do for starters.

The scale: everyone.

The outcome: mature in Christ.

That's not common language in our day. So recently I have asked church leaders in a number of settings to take a few moments to describe what someone who is "mature in Christ" looks like. Certain words always make the list: loving, joyful, peaceful, forgiving, serving, courageous, loyal, humble, generous.... Read this in full at

“When I pray, I end up praying about things I think I should be concerned about: missionaries, world peace, and global warming. But my mind keeps wandering toward stuff I am genuinely concerned about. The way to let my talking flow into praying is this: I must pray what is in me, not what I wish were in me.

“Shel Silverstein once wrote the "Prayer of the Selfish Child": "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my toys to break, So none of the other kids can use 'em. Amen." Children come to their parents with all kinds of requests: wonderful, foolish, generous, and selfish. What matters to parents, however, is that their child comes to them. They know that they can guide the child's growth - as long as their child speaks openly with them. It is the hidden heart, not the selfish heart, that is hardest to change.

“This is ‘in everything’ kind of prayer. I don't wait to clean up my motives first. I don't try to sound more spiritual than I am. I don't pray what ought to be in me. I pray what's really in me. The "in everything" prayer is the most common kind in the Bible. I just try to attach one sincere rider: ‘Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.’

“As long as we have unsolved problems, unfilled desires, and a mustard seed of faith, we have all we need for a vibrant prayer life.”
John Ortberg, The Me I Want To Be

Brain surgery patients who have had tumors removed from the back part of their brain were more likely demonstrate greater spirituality after the operation than those who had tumors removed from the frontal area of their brain, according to researchers behind a new study.

Though past neuroimaging studies have linked activity within a large network in the brain that connects the outer areas of the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes with spiritual experiences, information on the causative link between such a network and spirituality is lacking, says lead study author Dr. Cosimo Urgesi from the University of Udine in Italy.

So, with the aim of making a direct link between brain activity and spirituality, Urgesi and his colleagues interviewed 88 people with brain tumors of various severities before and after their surgeries, and later mapped the exact area of the brain that was operated on.

What the researchers found was that those patients who had operations performed on the left and right posterior parietal regions of the brain were significantly more likely to be rated as being more spiritual after their surgery than those patients whose operations were performed on other areas of the brain.... Read this in full at

For the first time the main road of Jerusalem, dated 1,500 years ago, has been discovered. An Israel Antiquities Authority archeological excavation in the heart of Jerusalem’s old city confirms a description of the road on the Madaba Map – an ancient mosaic map from the sixth century CE, measuring eight by 16 meters, and located in a church in Madaba, Jordan.

The map, from the Byzantine period, is the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the Land of Israel. What is notable on the map is the illustration of the entrance to Jerusalem from the west via a very large gate that led to a single, central thoroughfare on that side of the city.

Various evidence of the important buildings in Jerusalem that appear on the map has been uncovered over the years, but the large bustling street from the period when Jerusalem became a Christian city has not been discovered until now. The reason is that no archeological excavations have taken place in the region due to its centrality and the general busyness of the area.... Read this in full at

“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.”
Ephesians 4:29

“When we think about laying down a life for another we usually think in terms of a singular event. But it is possible for us to lay down our lives over the course of a lifetime, minute by minute and day by day. And it is the work of the Spirit to empower us as we seek to lose ourselves in acts of loving kindness and sacrificial living.”
Elaine Puckett, professor at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia

by Carolyn Arends
Jesus was quoting from Psalm 37 when he said the meek will inherit the earth, and it turns out that the whole psalm is a primer on meekness. I have always been a little over-meek (reticent, shy, too deferential). So when I read the Bible and find the meek congratulated, I'm delighted.
But there's a catch. It turns out that only two people in Scripture are described as "meek": Moses and Jesus. So meekness likely has little to do with timidity.

If meekness isn't weakness, what is it? The word has an association with domesticated animals, specifically beasts of burden. At first blush, this etymology doesn't thrill me; I don't particularly aspire to be ox-like. But when I think about it, an ox at the plow is not weak but extraordinarily strong. The key, though, is that his power is harnessed and directed. Perhaps meekness is strength that is submitted to an appropriate authority.

Shortly after I began writing this column, I found myself in rare conflict with a friend. At first I thought my anger was giving me strength, bolstering my courage so I could deal with the issues. But the anger soon betrayed me, sapping my energy and compromising my ability to act according to wisdom and divine direction. It's only as I have turned my hurt—and the overwhelming urge to prove that I'm right—over to God that I've begun to be able to respond (and sometimes resist responding) from a place of holy, rather than human, strength.

Psalm 37 is all about strength in meekness. It deals with trusting God to be God, and with not trying to do his job. The meek, for example, don't repay evil for evil; they rely on God for justice (vv. 1-3). Several verses mention that the meek don't fret. And the meek let God provide their hearts' desires rather than trying to manipulate people and circumstances to get what they want (v. 4).

How much energy do I expend trying to secure provisions, control outcomes, and manage people's perceptions of me? Psalm 37 tells us that the meek give that labor up. They trust God's claims that he will provide, protect, and defend, and in so doing free up resources for putting their hands to God's plow. It's a good plan.... Read this in full at

This year’s Texas State Board of Education textbook social-studies review has drawn the most attention for the battles over what names should be included in the roll call of history. But while ignoring Edward Kennedy and upgrading Newt Gingrich are significant moves, something more fundamental is on the agenda. The one thing that underlies the entire program of the nation’s Christian conservative activists is, naturally, religion. But it isn’t merely the case that their Christian orientation shapes their opinions on gay marriage, abortion and government spending. More elementally, they hold that the United States was founded by devout Christians and according to biblical precepts. This belief provides what they consider not only a theological but also, ultimately, a judicial grounding to their positions on social questions. When they proclaim that the United States is a “Christian nation,” they are not referring to the percentage of the population that ticks a certain box in a survey or census but to the country’s roots and the intent of the founders.... Read this in full at

by John Azumah
One of the crucial issues facing Christians around the world today is finding the right balance in our response to the various challenges posed by Islam and engagement with Muslims. The quest for an appropriate Christian response to Islam and engagement with Muslims has sadly polarized Christians along evangelical vs. liberal, truth vs. grace, or confrontational vs. conciliatory lines.

As an African, my own struggle is the way these positions are presented as absolutes in either/or categories. In the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City (9/11), the Iraq war, the Madrid bombings, etc., the division among Christians has deepened. Reflecting on the situation, Joseph Cummings talks of a titanic struggle going on in the heavenly realms -- a struggle not between Muslims and Christians or between Islam and the West, but “a struggle within Christianity itself, a struggle for the soul of the Christian faith.”

What Cummings is suggesting, and I couldn’t agree more, is that Islam per se is not necessarily the greatest challenge facing Christians today, but rather how Christians choose to respond to Islam. There seems to be a general consensus that we should be talking about Christian responses rather than “response” to Islam.... Read this in full at

Calvin College this summer will host a merger of two organizations that represent 230 denominations and nearly 80 million people worldwide -- about 80% of all those in the Reformed tradition.

One thousand delegates from 107 countries are expected June 18-28, when the Grand Rapids, MI-based Reformed Ecumenical Council unifies with the Switzerland-based World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

“It’s truly the world coming to West Michigan,” said Peter Borgdorff, president of the REC. “This is probably one of the most significant ecumenical events this decade anywhere in the world.”

The event will include perhaps the largest American Indian powwow in a generation, said Richard van Houten, REC general secretary.... Read this in full at

by Lisa Miller
It doesn't take a degree from Harvard to see that in today's world, a person needs to know something about religion. The conflicts between the Israelis and the Palestinians; between Christians, Muslims, and animists in Africa; between religious conservatives and progressives at home over abortion and gay marriage—all these relate, if indirectly, to what rival groups believe about God and scripture. Any resolution of these conflicts will have to come from people who understand how religious belief and practice influence our world: why, in particular, believers see some things as worth fighting and dying for. On the Harvard campus -- where the next generation of aspiring leaders is currently beginning the spring term -- the importance of religion goes without saying. "Kids need to know the difference between a Sunni and a Shia," is something you hear a lot.

But in practice, the Harvard faculty cannot cope with religion. It cannot agree on who should teach it, how it should be taught, and how much value to give it compared with economics, biology, literature, and all the other subjects considered vital to an undergraduate education. This question of how much religion to teach led to a bitter fight when the faculty last discussed curriculum reform, in 2006. Louis Menand, the Pulitzer Prize–winning literary critic and English professor, together with a small group of colleagues tasked with revising Harvard's core curriculum, made the case that undergraduate students should be required to take at least one course in a category called Reason and Faith. These would explore big issues in religion: intelligent design, debates within and around Islam, and a history of American faith, for example. Steven Pinker, the evolutionary psychologist, led the case against a religion requirement. He argued that the primary goal of a Harvard education is the pursuit of truth through rational inquiry, and that religion has no place in that.... Read this in full at

A volunteer Wiccan chaplain is headed to a federal appeals court in an attempt to get California to hire prison clergy outside five religious categories.

Supported by interfaith scholars and church-state separationists, the Rev. Patrick McCollum argues that the state policy has the "pernicious effect" of depriving inmates of other religious backgrounds from getting the services they need and deserve.

The court challenge began when McCollum, 59, a prominent leader in Wiccan and correctional circles, applied and was rejected for a full-time position as a chaplain in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.... Read this in full at

In 1965, the Canadian psychologist Elliott Jaques coined the term midlife crisis to describe the trauma many individuals in the developed world feel around the age of 35, when they face the imminence of old age and, eventually, death. In the traditional narrative of the crisis, individuals -- mostly men -- panic and make extreme compensations for this reality: an extra-marital affair, perhaps, or the rash purchase of a Corvette or Harley. But has the concept of the midlife crisis itself grown old and tired? Professor Carlo Strenger, 51, of Tel Aviv University's Department of Psychology thinks so. In a series of articles and studies, he has argued that increasing life expectancy makes the midlife years a time to grow and flourish. He explained his optimism in an interview with TIME.... Read this in full at,8599,1962283,00.html

Kingdom Racing has announced its IndyCar race-related Ministry event lineup for 2010. The team intends to build on the footprint established over the past two years with various events, the most important to be a fan outreach program scheduled for the Indianapolis 500 race weekend, May 28-30. The centerpiece of the program will be 12 infield missionaries that will operate from Kingdom Racing's display booth. The display will also feature show cars, race driver and celebrity appearances and worship music. Similar ministry events for the Texas, Kentucky, Chicago, and Miami IndyCar races are also under design, but are subject to available resources. Kingdom Racing will also again compete in IndyCar and Indy Lights races in 2010 with drivers Davey Hamilton and Brandon Wagner.

The team is partnering with national Christian Ministries and local churches for the events conducted at each track. Through these efforts, Kingdom Racing intends to reach thousands of people in 2010 with the good news of Jesus Christ. Team founder George Del Canto said "Kingdom Racing cannot do this alone and needs support. We challenge the Christian community to partner with us to change lives through a message of hope delivered to the infields and grandstands we touch in 2010."

“The only real life is one lived close to God. This does not happen by itself; you must make an effort to make this happen, and this effort will bring you joy.”
Leo Tolstoy

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

Words: A. Katherine Hankey (1834-1911)
Music: Johann Scheffler, 1657

Advent tells us, Christ is near:
Christmas tells us Christ is here!
In Epiphany we trace
All the glory of His grace.

Those three Sundays before Lent
Will prepare us to repent;
That in Lent we may begin
Earnestly to mourn for sin.

Holy Week and Easter, then,
Tell who died and rose again;
O that happy Easter day!
“Christ is risen indeed,” we say.

Yes, and Christ ascended, too,
To prepare a place for you;
So we give Him special praise,
After those great forty days.

Then, He sent the Holy Ghost,
On the day of Pentecost,
With us ever to abide:
Well may we keep Whitsuntide!

Last of all, we humbly sing
Glory to our God and King,
Glory to the One in three,
On the Feast of Trinity.

>from NetHymnal at

“Guide me, O Lord, in all the changes and varieties of the world, that in all things that shall happen I may have an evenness and tranquillity of spirit; that my soul may be wholly resigned to thy divinest will and pleasure, never murmuring at thy gentle chastisements and fatherly correction, never waxing proud and insolent though I feel a torrent of comforts and prosperous successes.”
Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living [1650], in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 34


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.

Book your next vacation with us!

Books, Music & More!

Get your domain name here!

Let me show you how to earn money as you travel!
It's as easy as 1-2-3!

Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

The Season of Lent

World Christian Database

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.)

The past is unchangeable. The future is unknown. Now is a gift; that's why it's called the present.
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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