man to man to God
week of June 20, 2010
Men’s Ministry newsletter of Path Of Life Ministries.
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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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.”
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.”
Gregory of Nyssa (331?-396?), The Life of Moses, Paulist Press,
1978, p. 32
Cavin T. Harper, Exec. Dir., Christian Grandparenting Network
me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth…”
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
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
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
DANGERS IN BEING 'SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS'?
spiritual but not religious."
a trendy phrase people often use to describe their belief that
they don't need organized religion to live a life of faith.
for Jesuit priest James Martin, the phrase also hints at something
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?"
debates erupt over everything from doctrine to fashion. Martin has
jumped into a running debate over the "I'm spiritual but not
"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: SBNR.org.
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
'SON OF HAMAS'
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.
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?
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.
How do you now love an enemy?
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 THE NET
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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
REPEAT AS NEEDED
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!"
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?
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.
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
HEADSTONES SAY ABOUT THE LIVING
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.
cemeteries really function as outdoor museums,” says Steve
Estroff, education manager at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New
skull with wings, an urn or a tree were popular on headstones in
America during the 17th and 18th centuries.
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
CHURCH CAN HELP ITS PEOPLE DIE WELL
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.
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
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.
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
DEPRAVITY OF POOH
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:
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.'
he thought another long time, and said: 'And the only reason for
being a bee that I know of is making honey.'
then he got up and said: 'And the only reason for making honey is
so I can eat it."'
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.
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.'
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."
CASE OF COURAGE
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.
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.
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
is the shortest distance between two people."
is a tranquilizer with no side effects."
is by definition healthy."
human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter."
soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul."
is an instant vacation."
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.
for humor even in the negative things that happen. We can focus on
either the negative or positive things of life; the choice is
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
DRIVERS FIND GOD AT MOBILE CHAPEL
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
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
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
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
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
TripleXChurch.com 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
no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one
another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law."
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.”
Carmichael (1867-1951), Rose from Brier , London: SPCK,
1950, p. 116
BRISCOE’S: A LIFETIME OF MINISTRY
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.
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.
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
APOLOGIST ALISTER MCGRATH TO WRITE C. S. LEWIS BIOGRAPHY
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.
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
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
YOGA MOVEMENT THRIVES IN SOUTH FLORIDA DESPITE OPPOSITION
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.
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.”'
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
LEADERS ARE OK WITH CONTRACEPTION
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.
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
'BEING KILLED FOR THEIR ORGANS'?
dangerous precedent was set in Belgium, an ethicist said, when a
woman chose assisted suicide and then opted to donate her organs.
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
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
FirstThings.com in May.... Read this in full at
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 , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 90
is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to
WEEK'S HYMN: YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN
William T. Sleeper, 1877
George C. Stebbins
ruler once came to Jesus by night
ask Him the way of salvation and light;
Master made answer in words true and plain,
must be born again.”
must be born again,
must be born again,
verily, verily, say unto thee,
must be born again.”
children of men, attend to the Word,
solemnly uttered by Jesus the Lord;
let not this message to you be in vain,
must be born again.”
ye who would enter that glorious rest,
sing with the ransomed the song of the blest,
life everlasting if ye would obtain,
must be born again.”
dear one in Heaven thy heart yearns to see,
the beautiful gate may be watching for thee,
list to the note of this solemn refrain,
must be born again.”
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
(1912-1994), Prayer and Modern Man, New York: The Seabury Press,
1973, p. 9
PRAY FOR PERSECUTED
the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother
or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.
agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake
God and man
Be in God’s will
Raises or bonuses
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Bills decrease while blessings increase
all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou
shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God" (Deut.
[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.]
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things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things
Frank Coleman, Editor
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
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result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ.
Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, firstname.lastname@example.org
if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program.
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