Connecting man to man to God
For week of June 20, 2010
Issue 309

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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[Jesus said,] “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
     Matthew 7:13-14

Just as at sea those who are carried away from the direction of the harbor bring themselves back on course by a clear sign, so Scripture may guide those adrift on the sea of life back into the harbor of the divine will.”
     St. Gregory of Nyssa (331?-396?), The Life of Moses, Paulist Press, 1978, p. 32

by Cavin T. Harper, Exec. Dir., Christian Grandparenting Network
Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth…” Ps. 86:11a

A student was recently told by the principal and two teachers at his middle school that he was not allowed to wear a t-shirt he had on because it was “offensive”. What was so “offensive” to these school authorities? His t-shirt read, “VIRGINITY ROCKS!”

What makes this so disturbing is that not only is it inconceivable that something good should be considered “offensive” in our schools but it is not an isolated situation. This incident is representative of the pervasive anti-truth, anti-moral attitude sweeping through America’s schools and culture today. As grandparents it is difficult for us to fathom how a message like this student’s t-shirt could be “offensive” to anyone, but it is a very different world than the one of our childhood.

How should we, as grandparents, respond to the morality void that bombards our grandchildren from every direction? Shall we ignore it or stick our heads in the sand and hope it will go away? Shall we viciously attack and make a big scene with school officials who pander to such nonsense? Should we just leave this to the parents, or is there something we can do as grandparents? While there may be appropriate times for deliberate action, as was done in this case, I believe grandparents can be effective resources and parent partners so this generation will know how to keep a biblical perspective even when doing so leads to persecution. Incidents like this are powerful opportunities to begin dialogue with our children, grandchildren and others about what is true and how to graciously live as salt and light in today’s world.... Read this in full at

"I'm spiritual but not religious."

It's a trendy phrase people often use to describe their belief that they don't need organized religion to live a life of faith.

But for Jesuit priest James Martin, the phrase also hints at something else: egotism.

"Being spiritual but not religious can lead to complacency and self-centeredness," says Martin, an editor at America, a national Catholic magazine based in New York City. "If it's just you and God in your room, and a religious community makes no demands on you, why help the poor?"

Religious debates erupt over everything from doctrine to fashion. Martin has jumped into a running debate over the "I'm spiritual but not religious" phrase.

The "I'm spiritual but not religious" community is growing so much that one pastor compared it to a movement. In a 2009 survey by the research firm LifeWay Christian Resources, 72 percent of millennials (18- to 29-year-olds) said they're "more spiritual than religious." The phrase is now so commonplace that it's spawned its own acronym ("I'm SBNR") and Facebook page:

But what exactly does being "spiritual but not religious" mean, and could there be hidden dangers in living such a life?.... Read this in full at

Few 32-year-old Christians write autobiographies that become instant bestsellers. But Palestinian Mosab Hassan Yousef, now living in the USA, has: Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices (SaltRiver). And why not: He grew up in radicalized Islam in the West Bank, was imprisoned in Israel, and eventually became disgusted with Hamas, the militant group his father helped create. He then came to Christ while working as an informant for Israel's Shin Bet security service and helped prevent political assassinations. Since the release of his book, he has spoken frankly to American evangelicals about Islam and Middle East peace. Recently he spoke with Christianity Today deputy managing editor Timothy C. Morgan.

Q: You describe the ten years you spent as a high-level informant for the Shin Bet, the Israeli counterterrorist agency. Did you ever think your decision was a mistake?

A: I questioned myself every time. I knew this was not why I was born, but I was absolutely stuck. Every time I thought about leaving, it meant that it was going to get worse—for my family, my friends, my people, and the Israelis. I did as much as I could, but I reached a level [where] I had to leave.

Q: How do you now love an enemy?

A: I learned all my life how to hate Jews. Now I [had] a golden opportunity to apply love-your-enemy practically, when I saved the lives of people I had never met. I did what I did for my God. When I have a tough decision to make, I ask myself this question: If Jesus Christ were here today, what would he do? This is how I survived. I imagined Christ in my position.... Read this in full at

by David Mills
The secularist criticism of Christianity and of religious belief in general is one of continuing interest to our readers, judging from the discussions just of two recent “On the Square” articles, David B. Hart’s The Perniciously Persistent Myths of Hypatia and the Great Library and Edward T. Oakes’ Atheism’s Just So Scenarios.

Someone I know said that this kind of thing proves how insecure and defensive are religious believers, who are always worried that the skeptics are really right and pounce on every skeptical argument to convince themselves the skeptics are wrong.

That may be true in some cases, but I suspect it’s true in as many or more cases that they find the secularist arguments just temptingly bad. When they read something by a “new atheist,” they react to it the way a tennis player standing at the net does to a weak return floating in the air above him: he’s just got to smash it.... Read this in full at

One thing quickly becomes apparent to anyone who reads the gospels, the pages of Scripture that contain Jesus's words and actions: no one who heard His words failed to react. Some who listened shook their fists at Him. Others marveled at a depth of wisdom they'd never heard before. And some believed His words, choosing to follow Him. Whatever the reaction, no one left His presence unaffected by the encounter.

Jesus easily stands as the most influential person in history. Even today, millions call Him Savior. Why? What was it about His short time on earth that shook the world so? What did He say to grab people's hearts the way He did? Why do so many believe in Him as the Son of God?

Embark on an eye-opening journey into the life and times of this carpenter from Nazareth. Just don't expect to be unstirred after your encounter with Jesus.... Read this in full at

by Suzanne Guthrie
The parish liturgy committee decided to adopt the contemporary version of the Lord's Prayer for use during worship. From now on, at least at one of the services, we'd be "sinners" instead of "trespassers." The next Sunday a distraught man cornered me. "You've taken the Lord's Prayer away from us!"

I was shocked. What did he mean? We'd been preparing and educating people for this small change for years. How could changing a few words "take away" the Lord's Prayer?

I thought: maybe the Lord's Prayer was not part of this man's daily spiritual practice. If it were, he might be using as many versions as he wanted in as many languages as he wanted or even paraphrases of his own. But maybe instead of praying it in his own time, he viewed Sunday worship as his own time, rather than as a gathering together of diverse and dissimilar people in continual growth and flux. After I came to this realization I begin hearing more "I" language: phrases such as "I came to get my ashes" on Ash Wednesday and "I had to get my palm" on Palm Sunday. My parishioners were consumers of prayer! Like customers at vending machines, they'd slide their dollars into the slot for the week's allotment of praise, thanksgiving, intercession and petition followed by coffee hour. The formulaic general confession served as the sole opportunity for soul cleansing and maintenance. There was no preparation, no aftercare, no angels rejoicing over this one repentant sinner out of 99, no fatted calf or cloak or ring, no popping of a champagne bottle celebrating a moral victory won over self.

What is church if it isn't a place to come to change, and to learn how to change with others who are changing? What is sin but the refusal to change -- perhaps by holding the community hostage to individual self-will? What we all needed was repentance. At our church we began responding to the need for repentance with more frequent and vibrant church parties, in the hope that these would move us toward more of a sense of "we" and away from being a fragile collection of "I's." .... Read this in full at

Cemeteries are known for telling the stories of the people buried there. But the symbols on headstones and monuments can tell a different story: how our view of death has changed over time.

Historic cemeteries really function as outdoor museums,” says Steve Estroff, education manager at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

A skull with wings, an urn or a tree were popular on headstones in America during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Puritans “looked upon death as something that caused anxiety because they believed in the idea of predestination – that God has already chosen ahead of time who is going to be saved and who is going to be damned,” says Joy Giguere, chair of membership and development of the Association of Gravestone Studies.... Read this in full at

by Rob Moll
Our church doesn't have enough funerals," associate pastor John Stoltzfus said in his annual All Saints' Day sermon. In his suburban Mennonite congregation, members tend to leave the area after they retire. They move into denominational retirement communities, or they head south to warmer climates. Sometimes, older members will continue to spend their summers in the Chicago area but winter somewhere in the Sun Belt. So, in his eight years as senior pastor, Todd Friesen has performed just ten funerals. Other pastors he knows who serve at churches where retired members stay in the area perform on average one funeral a week.

Such a lack of funerals, Friesen says, is a missed opportunity for spiritual formation. A funeral, he says, is like the North Star in the sky, so that a navigator knows where the ship is and how to adjust its direction to get to the destination. At a funeral, "you get these coordinates" to position yourself in life, says Friesen.

Funerals are opportunities to measure ourselves by the same stick we are using to measure others. "He was a good dad," we say, "and a loving husband." Or, "She took care of the people who worked for her, and she mentored other young women in church." When we say that about another, we also ask the same questions of ourselves.

We live in a culture that has forgotten how to help people measure their days. Through medicine and science, we know more about death and how to forestall it than ever before. Yet we know little about how to prepare people for the inevitable. The church is a community that teaches people how to live well by teaching them how to measure their days. Put another way, when the church incarnates a culture of resurrection—one that recognizes the inevitability of death but not its triumph—it teaches people how to die well.... Read this in full at

In his book Border Crossings, Rodney Clapp says, "A noted Western philosopher, introduced to the world in 1926, was one day sitting on a log when he heard a buzzing sound. He was puzzled and fell to pondering. As his leading chronicler remembers the event, the philosopher reasoned along the following lines:

"'If there's a buzzing noise, somebody's making a buzzing noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing noise that I know of is because you're a bee.'

"Then he thought another long time, and said: 'And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey.'

"And then he got up and said: 'And the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it."'

"Now, even though this philosopher carries the strange title of Winnie the Pooh, and even though his work mostly is appreciated by children, this bit of reflection deserves our serious attention. After all, it resembles the way the American church is more and more thinking about God and discipleship.

"This incident shows Pooh to be a pragmatic individualist. He cannot imagine the bees possessing an existence and purpose apart from his own use and interest. The Pooh is the quintessential consumer, entirely practical and entirely self-centered: The only reason for being a bee is to make honey, and the 'only reason for making honey is so I can eat it.'

"Thus reasoning, the Pooh has a range of other possibilities blocked from his vision. He cannot see, for instance, the wider ecological purpose of bees, how they weave into a fabric of flora and fauna not only by providing honey, but also by such crafts as pollinating flowers. Another thing Pooh cannot see is a theological purpose for bees: that in the wonder of their existence, they speak and spell the glory of a Creator God."

No quality has ever so much addled the brains and tangled the definitions of merely rational sages. Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. "He that will lose his life, the same shall save it," is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it.

A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.

No philosopher, I fancy, has ever expressed this romantic riddle with adequate lucidity, and I certainly have not done so. But Christianity has done more: it has marked the limits of it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero, showing the distance between him who dies for the sake of living and him who dies for the sake of dying. And it has held up ever since above the European lances the banner of the mystery of chivalry: the Christian courage, which is a disdain of death; not the [Oriental] courage, which is a disdain of life.”
     Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), Orthodoxy, London, New York: John Lane Company, 1909, p. 170

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."
-- Victor Borge

"Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects."
-- Arnold Glasow

"Laughter is by definition healthy."
-- Doris Lessing

"The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter."
-- Mark Twain

"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul."
-- Yiddish Proverb

"Laughter is an instant vacation."
-- Milton Berle

Learn to laugh; it sure beats crying all the time. Scripture makes it clear that there is certainly a time to cry in life. The truth is, we will experience many times in life when we will cry, but we will also experience times when we will laugh.

Look for humor even in the negative things that happen. We can focus on either the negative or positive things of life; the choice is ours.

Spend time today looking for opportunities to laugh in the most unusual of places. Sometimes it is in the midst of situations that normally result in weeping that God provides the gift of laughter. Choose to laugh today and choose to help others do the same.”
     André K. Dugger, from the book Dear God

Daniel Mullins walked awkwardly into the middle of Sunday service at the Wilco Travel Plaza mobile chapel, looking confused and worn out. He wore a red and black, long-sleeved flannel shirt with a large rip in the back despite the 80 degree summer heat. His eyes were sunken in and his shoulders slumped as if beaten by the world. “Something just brought me here, I don’t know why,” said Mullins, 47, a truck driver who made an unplanned visit to the Transport for Christ mobile chapel in Harrisburg, Pa., on a Sunday.

After spending an hour talking to a chaplain, Mullins emerged from the back room of the 18-wheeler-truck-turned-mobile-chapel with a sheepish smile on his face. “It was like a weight took off my shoulders,” he explained about his smile and straightened back.

Mullins is among the expected 60 to 70 truck drivers who come or rededicate their lives to Christ each year at the TFC mobile chapel in Harrisburg. There, truck drivers find refuge from loneliness and temptations in a chapel manned by chaplains 24 hours a day, seven days a week.... Read this in full at

MOBILE APP FOR RECOVERING P*RN ADDICTS has released a mobile version of a software program that helps recovering p*rn addicts stay accountable. The release of the X3watch app for the iPhone, iPad, and Android was announced by the community-based website founded by “Porn Pastor” Craig Gross.

Unlike filters that just block specific websites all together, X3watch was intentionally designed to give users the freedom and power to show their friends, parents and spouses that they can be held accountable and make good choices,” said Gross, who founded in 2002 after noticing that p*rnography was a common struggle and addiction among many young people. “For people frequently tempted by the accessibility of Internet p*rn, this app is a great tool to keep them in check and focused on who their habit may be hurting,” he added.... Read this in full at

"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law."
     Romans 13:8

I am learning never to be disappointed, but to praise,’ Arnot of Central Africa wrote in his journal long ago... I think it must hurt the tender love of our Father when we press for reasons for His dealings with us, as though He were not Love, as though not He but another chose our inheritance for us, and as though what He chose to allow could be less than the very best and dearest that Love Eternal had to give.”
     Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), Rose from Brier [1933], London: SPCK, 1950, p. 116

Known for his logic and wit, Stuart Briscoe has been preaching since he was just 17 years old. Now, edging close to 80 years young, he shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, he continues teaching the Bible on around the world.

Stuart was born to a believing family in the south west Cumbrian town of Millom, Cumbria, England, in 1930, and began working in banking right after high school and eventually became personal assistant to the chief inspector of the bank.

In 1959, a year after he married Jill, a school teacher, they felt a call to leave their careers and serve in full-time ministry. They joined Torchbearers, an international Christian ministry organization involved in evangelism and Bible teaching. Stuart traveled extensively, and Jill remained in England with their three children and was involved in local street ministry.... Read this in full at

Alister McGrath, internationally-known apologist, educator, and bestselling author, is writing a definitive biography of C. S. Lewis, coming from Tyndale House Publishers in 2013, the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Lewis.

"We are honored to be working with Dr. McGrath; not only is he one of the world's most respected Christian theologians of this century; he is also a champion of C. S. Lewis's importance for Christian apologetics and understands the academic culture within which Lewis developed his ideas," said Ron Beers, senior vice president, group publisher. "He is ideally placed to write this biography."

Alister McGrath, a former atheist who grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, studied at Oxford University, where he became a Christian. McGrath subsequently served as Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University until 2008, before taking up the newly-established chair of Theology, Religion, and Culture at King's College, London.... Read this in full at

Chakras. The ``third eye.'' Sanskrit chanting. ``Om.'' These staples of many yoga classes are a turnoff to some Christians. But some South Florida churches are offering yoga and a few even combine it with Christian prayer and meditation, steering clear of yoga's Hindu roots. They seek to show that Christian faith is compatible with the ancient form of movement and relaxation.

A Palm Beach County class, called Praisemoves, is sponsored by Community of Hope, a non-denominational evangelical church in Loxahatchee. It begins with a prayer thanking the Lord for bringing the group together. Participants proceed through a series of Sun Salutations, strength and balance poses, twists and Pilates exercises. The class ends with meditation on a New Testament passage, such as 2 Corinthians 12:9: ``And he said unto me, `My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”'

I have had Christians question if this is OK,” said Kerri Verna, who teaches the free class with her husband, Nick. “But yoga is not what it was 20 years ago. It used to be a form of religion; now it's evolved to just a form of exercise.” Still, such classes have their critics, who believe Christians should not do yoga under any circumstances.... Read this in full at

Evangelical leaders are overwhelmingly open to artificial methods of contraception, according to the April Evangelical Leaders Survey. Nearly 90% said they approved of artificial methods of contraception. In a separate poll conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) in partnership with Gallup, Inc., 90/91% of evangelicals find hormonal/barrier methods of contraception to be morally acceptable for adults.

Most associate evangelicals with Catholics in their steady leadership in pro-life advocacy, and rightly so,” said Leith Anderson, president of the NAE. “But it may come as a surprise that unlike the Catholic church, we are open to contraception.”.... Read this in full at

A dangerous precedent was set in Belgium, an ethicist said, when a woman chose assisted suicide and then opted to donate her organs.

Wesley Smith, a bioethics fellow at the Discovery Institute, said agreeing to harvest organs from euthanasia "raises the very realistic prospect that despairing people with terminal illnesses or disabilities (or perhaps, just despair) could latch onto being killed for their organs as a way of bringing meaning to their lives."

"This very dangerous territory, made all the more treacherous by doctors, spouses and a respected medical journal validating the ideas that dead is better than disabled and that living patients can, essentially, be viewed as a natural resource to be killed and mined," Smith wrote on the Secondhand Smoke blog at in May.... Read this in full at

Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life.”
     A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God [1948], Christian Publications, 1982, p. 90

"It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’"
     Romans 14:11

Words: William T. Sleeper, 1877
Music: George C. Stebbins

A ruler once came to Jesus by night
To ask Him the way of salvation and light;
The Master made answer in words true and plain,
Ye must be born again.”

Ye must be born again,
Ye must be born again,
I verily, verily, say unto thee,
Ye must be born again.”

Ye children of men, attend to the Word,
So solemnly uttered by Jesus the Lord;
And let not this message to you be in vain,
Ye must be born again.”

O ye who would enter that glorious rest,
And sing with the ransomed the song of the blest,
The life everlasting if ye would obtain,
Ye must be born again.”

A dear one in Heaven thy heart yearns to see,
At the beautiful gate may be watching for thee,
Then list to the note of this solemn refrain,
Ye must be born again.”

>from NetHymnal at

Prayer is not a means of laying hold of God; that prayer precisely is not made possible by a system, but, rather, by a free decision of grace on the part of the one who wills indeed to listen; that prayer precisely is not addressed to one who dwells at a distance, but is addressed to one who comes very close (even into our hearts!); that prayer precisely is a miracle and not a technical procedure.”
     Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), Prayer and Modern Man, New York: The Seabury Press, 1973, p. 9


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.

Draw Your Own Kaleidoscope

Imperial History of the Middle East

Amazing photo of a tiger hugging a man

Facts about the day and year you were born

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.)

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.
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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