Connecting man to man to God
For week of July 18, 2010
Issue 313

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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I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
     ~Ephesians 3:17–19

It is a profound irony that the Son of God visited this planet and one of the chief complaints against him was that he was not religious enough.”
     ~Rebecca Manley Pippert  

During a yearlong string of shootings before his arrest in the summer of 1977, David Berkowitz, known as the Son of Sam, killed six people and wounded seven others in New York City. Upon his confession to the shootings, the portrait of the serial killer that emerged was of a deeply disturbed loner, a man with a .44-caliber handgun who said he took orders from a demonic black Labrador retriever owned by a neighbor.

But in the years Mr. Berkowitz has been serving a 25-year-to-life sentence, he has been anything but alone. He has, it turns out, attracted an array of individuals from outside prison who, though they deplore his murderous past, have become friends, acquaintances and in some instances a kind of ad hoc set of assistants.

This circle of admirers, to a great degree, is made up of evangelical Christians, including a Town and Village Courts judge in upstate New York and a financial adviser in Manhattan, who have been moved by Mr. Berkowitz’s story of becoming a born-again Christian 23 years ago, and many of them have sought to publicize his account of redemption.... Read this in full at

Just a month after launching his new church in a barn next to his home, Ted Haggard plans to move services to a bigger venue to accommodate growing attendance. St. James Church in Colorado Springs has grown from some 160 to about 245 people, according to The Gazette.

The former megachurch pastor told the local newspaper that he will be moving services to a room at Pikes Peak Center on July 25. "One more week in the red barn, then to the Pikes Peak Center," Haggard tweeted.

Four years ago, Haggard resigned as pastor of New Life Church, a prominent megachurch he founded in his basement at age 28, over a sex and drugs scandal involving a former male prostitute. He also stepped down as president of the National Association of Evangelicals.... Read this in full at

Between "sexting," cyber bullying, and bikinis with padded tops for 7-year-olds, James Dobson thinks mainstream culture doesn't offer girls a pretty picture. Dobson's Bringing Up Girls (Tyndale) is the sequel to Bringing Up Boys, which has sold more than two million copies to date.

The founder of Focus on the Family says that one of his favorite letters came from a 14-year-old girl. "I hate you dr. dobson," she wrote. "I had to watch the dumbest movie today about sex. You made the movie. HA! Like you'd know anything about it." Parents are producing strong-willed children, Dobson says, and he wants parents to assume responsibility. Dobson spoke with Christianity Today about his vision for shaping the next generation of women and his departure from Focus on the Family.

Q: How have cultural expectations for girls changed since you raised your daughter? Was there advice for raising girls 30 years ago that would be bad advice today?
A: No, I haven't changed my views because they are rooted in moral principles and in Scripture, so they are eternal. I don't mean to imply I have a corner on God's truth, but I do draw the ideas and principles from that foundation. It's amazing that if you go back 40 years, when I wrote Dare to Discipline, and read those principles today, they are still on target. Dare to Discipline was published in 1970 in the midst of the Vietnam War and a culture of rebellion. The book was written in that context, but the principles of child rearing have not changed.... Read this in full at

Archeologists have discovered an ancient clay chip that bears the oldest text ever found in Jerusalem, Israeli researchers say. The tiny clay fragment, dating back some 3,400 years, is covered with cuneiform script.

The clay fragment was discovered during an excavation of a tower built around the period of King Solomon, near the southern wall of the Old City of Jerusalem, The Hebrew University announced in a press release.

The fragment was written by a highly skilled scribe that probably prepared tablets for the royal house of the time, said Wayne Horowitz, a scholar of Assyriology at Hebrew University Institute of Archeology, who helped decipher the script.

Ordinarily, Sturgis, S.D., is a charming, Western-style tourist town on the northern end of the Black Hills. People bound for sites such as Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial might even miss it, with so much else to see and do.

But the town of about 7,000 people is expected to expand exponentially -- maybe to as many as 700,000 -- this Aug. 9-15 for the 70th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Southern Baptists plan to be ready -- and "we need your help," said Jim Hamilton, executive director of the Dakota Baptist Convention, which for the fifth year plans to have an evangelistic outreach at the rally. "We're expanding this year to three sites," Hamilton said, "and that's going to take a lot of folks willing to talk with people about the positive difference Jesus Christ has made in their lives."

The evangelism strategy at Sturgis will include an opportunity to win a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle for anyone willing to listen to a three-minute testimony.... Read this in full at

The faith of teenagers is a picture of contrasts. Teenagers are consistently among the most religiously active Americans, with nearly 6 out of every 10 teens engaged in some type of group spiritual activity in a typical week. Yet, the spirituality of teenagers is also remarkably diverse and fluid.

A new research study from the Barna Group explores the changing religious environment of teenagers, comparing their participation in personal and group forms of faith over the past dozen years. While most teenagers remain spiritually active in some way, it appears that six specific types of teen faith engagement are declining.

In several ways, teenagers are much less inclined toward spirituality than were teens a dozen years ago. The study assessed 9 different forms of teenage involvement; 6 of those religious activities are at their lowest levels since Barna Group began tracking such teen behaviors. These included small group attendance, prayer, Sunday school participation, donations to churches, reading sacred texts other than the Bible, and evangelism by Christian teens (explaining their belief in Jesus Christ with others who have different faith views).... Read this in full at

On more occasions than I care to admit, I find myself thinking, ‘I know in my head that with the power of Christ living in me, I should be able to face this particular situation, but in my heart, the odds just feel too big.’ I look at my surrounding circumstances and think, ‘There is no way this can turn out well.’

But then I remember that little story about Elisha and his servant. What might shift in my heart if God were to unveil my eyes and show me that despite my fear or uncertainty, I'm actually surrounded by his powerful protection and presence?

It's time for us to shift our focus. Instead of staring at the obstacles and obstructions that Satan loves for us to see, we must fix our gaze on the path of provision that God already has paved. He has given us full access to his wisdom, full assurance of his faithfulness and full availability of his power through the pages of Scripture. Some scriptural whispers are admonishing, some are correcting, some are filled with delight and some bring challenges our way. But the net effect remains the same: We are steered in a God-ward direction when we act on the truth of his Word.”
     Bill Hybels, in his book The Power of a Whisper

In a decision that could increase the amount of profanity on television, the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals July 13 struck down the FCC's broadcast indecency policy, ruling that the standards the commission uses to monitor offensive language are "unconstitutionally vague."

The case was brought by Fox, ABC and CBS and involved several instances of "fleeting expletives" on live TV. During the 2002 Billboard Music Awards, Cher said the "f-word" and the next year on the same program Nicole Richie used the "s-word" and "f-word." Both were broadcast on Fox.

The FCC found Fox in violation of the policy but the three-judge panel unanimously struck it down, saying the FCC's policy did not give broadcasters fair warning of what is and is not allowed. The panel criticized what it called unequal enforcement: While FCC found Fox guilty it allowed a variation of the s-word to be broadcast on CBS's "The Early Show." The FCC ruled the CBS broadcast was exempt because it was a "bona fide news interview."

The Second Circuit also questioned why the FCC declared the s-word on ABC's "NYPD Blue" to be offensive while not finding other curse words on the same broadcast to be offensive.... Read this in full at

The organization previously known as the Y.M.C.A. is henceforth to be called “the Y.” One of the nation’s most iconic nonprofit organizations, founded 166 years ago in England as the Young Men’s Christian Association, is undergoing a major rebranding, adopting as its name the nickname everyone has used for generations.

It’s a way of being warmer, more genuine, more welcoming, when you call yourself what everyone else calls you,” said Kate Coleman, the organization’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer.... Read this in full at

See also

Churches with a high number of small groups, effective lay leadership, faithful pastors, and both traditional and contemporary services tend to be the healthiest, a new study shows. The "drivers of vitality" were identified through surveys conducted by an independent firm for The United Methodist Church, which is seeking to reverse its declining membership.

"We’ve taken a data-driven approach to identify what works for thriving congregations large and small, both rural and urban, all over the U.S.," said Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, chair of the denomination's Call to Action committee, in a statement. "While there’s no silver bullet, we believe these findings can lead to vitality for many more congregations." .... Read this in full at

Sheila Schuller Coleman, 59, the daughter of The Rev. Robert H. Schuller, founding pastor of the Crystal Cathedral megachurch in Garden Grove, California is "not retiring".

In a statement posted July 12, 2010 on the Crystal Cathedral website (, she said, "Yesterday an article was written and printed by a local Southern California newspaper. It was picked up by other newspapers and disseminated all over the wires that my father, 'Robert H. Schuller was stepping down'; that he was retiring. The article is completely false.

"What really happened was that the Reformed Church in America, California Classis commissioned me this morning, officially as the Senior Pastor/Lead Pastor for the Crystal Cathedral Congregation -- a role that I have been filling unofficially for the last year.

"In my comments following the commissioning ceremony yesterday morning, I made it very clear that nothing was changing as a result of the commissioning service today. It was merely an affirmation of the denomination. Further, I made it clear that it was my call to stand beside my father, to pray for him so he can continue to preach his unique and positive message from this pulpit for the rest of his life.... Read this in full at

As membership declines and budgets shrink, the beautiful edifices of American Christianity can feel like weights dragging down churches that are forced to spend money on maintenance and repairs instead of ministry, charity, and other Gospel-derived imperatives.... Read this in full at

"Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
     ~1 Thessalonians 5:11

There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.”
     ~Treya Stark

Stephen Prothero's newest book, God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter ., seeks to educate his audience on the basics of the major world religions. After his sketch of Islam, upon which I'm no expert, he turns to Christianity. If this chp represents his work, I'd say he gets a B. While he has a handle on some topics -- like the diversity of Christianity in the world -- there are others that baffle me. I'll get to those in what follows, but first I want to admit something up front. I'm sketching this chp in light of what I think should be in a sketch of Christianity. So I have to talk a bit about what he didn't write, and not just about what he did write -- which is good and readable.

But, if you had to describe Christianity as a religion, what would be the top three topics you'd discuss? Would you include Mormonism as part of Christianity? (Would Mormons?) Which persons in the history of the Church would you say have to be mentioned?

Prothero sees Christianity as a religion of salvation (Islam as submission). Simple terms often go a long way if they are the right ones. I'd say his term "salvation" is a very good one. It needs some defining and nuancing, which he doesn't do in a book like this, but salvation is a good descriptor of Christianity if you want to narrow it down to one term. Anyway, it's good to describe how Christianity has presented what it has to offer to the world.... Read this in full at

Catholic writer Mary Eberstadt's new novel, The Loser Letters: A Comic Tale of Life, Death, and Atheism (Ignatius Press), begins by noting the laurels and attention heaped on authors such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. With a couple decades off to forget Soviet Communism's anti-religious oppression, the last few years have been awfully good for unbelief.

Everything is going great for the New Atheists, observes the book's narrator—a witty, sharp-tongued 20-something named A.F. Christian (A Former Christian)—except for one thing: "… where is the testimony of anyone Your writings have actually convinced?"

Riffing on C.S. Lewis's observation that people tend to drift into unbelief rather than convert to it, Christian fancies herself the only actual convert to atheism. She proceeds to offer epistolary advice to the New Atheists on how to improve their message and gain more converts—another obvious Lewis homage.... Read this in full at

He was too great for his disciples. And in view of what he plainly said, is it any wonder that all who were rich and prosperous felt a horror of strange things, a swimming of their world at his teaching? Perhaps the priests and the rich men understood him better than his followers. He was dragging out all the little private reservations they had made from social service into the light of a universal religious life. He was like some terrible moral huntsman digging mankind out of the snug burrows in which they had lived hitherto. In the white blaze of this kingdom of his there was to be no property, no privilege, no pride and precedence; no motive indeed and no reward but love. Is it any wonder that men were dazzled and blinded and cried out against him? Even his disciples cried out when he would not spare them the light. Is it any wonder that the priests realized that between this man and themselves there was no choice but that he or priestcraft should perish? Is it any wonder that the Roman soldiers, confronted and amazed by something soaring over their comprehension and threatening all their discipline, should take refuge in wild laughter, and crown him with thorns and robe him in purple and make a mock Caesar of him? For to take him seriously was to enter upon a strange and alarming life, to abandon habits, to control instincts and impulses, to essay an incredible happiness... Is it any wonder that to this day this Galilean is too much for our small hearts?”
     ~H. G. Wells (1866-1946), The Outline of History, v. II [1920], The Review of Reviews Co., 1922, p. 598-599

While American consumers continue to worry about jobs and paying the bills, 7 in 10 Christian households reported in a recently published survey that they actively pay off their credit cards in full every month and nearly 8 of 10 Christian households said they continue to give ten percent or more of their income to local churches and ministries.

It’s a sign that a growing number of people are learning to actively eliminate and avoid debt,” remarked Brian Kluth with Maximum Generosity, which conducted the second annual “View from the Pew” survey in cooperation with Christianity Today International.

The survey results are “hopeful signs” for Christian households, say Maximum Generosity and Christianity Today International, which earlier this year revealed the results of the second annual “State of the Plate” survey.... Read this in full at

Evangelical churches do a better job than mainline churches in keeping their young people in the faith, probably because they invest more money in youth ministry, says a Duke University professor who studies characteristics of American congregations.

Mark Chaves, a professor of sociology, religion and divinity and director of the National Congregations Study, said in a blog post July 8 that research from the ongoing survey about the basic characteristics of America's congregations confirms that religious groups prioritize youth ministry differently.

Among churches that have 50 or more teenagers, Chaves said white evangelical congregations are substantially more likely than mainline Protestant churches to employ a full-time youth minister.

Fifty-nine percent of evangelical churches with 50-99 teens have a full-time youth minister, compared to only one-third of mainline churches with that many youth. In churches with more than 100 youth, the gap increases to 87% for evangelicals to 55 percent of mainline churches.... Read this in full at

Responding to cultural and sociological trends, small churches nationwide are painting fresh pictures of community and life transformation. Throughout the pages of its July/August 2010 issue, Outreach magazine shines a spotlight on these congregations of 300 or less to reveal how small-church America is changing in form and mission.

The magazine worked with Outreach columnist Chuck Warnock, a small-church pastor and blogger, to report on seven types of small, evangelical churches: traditional community stalwarts; marketplace ministries; lifestyle-driven; ethnic; multiethnic; new church starts that often start small; and house churches that intentionally stay small.

For example, Renaissance Foursquare Church in Portland, Ore., more commonly known to locals as Renaissance Café, is a coffee shop that happens to also be a church of about 30. Arabic Bible Church in Richardson, Texas, with 50 attendees reaches and serves Iraqi refugees, while Pine Lake Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Ga., at one time a homogenous white church, has shifted with its neighborhood's racial makeup to become a multiethnic church of 160.... Read this in full at

It was an improbable Cinderella story. "The Shack," William Paul Young's novel about a man rediscovering lost faith after the murder of his 5-year-old daughter, started out as a manuscript no one would touch. Finally, pastors Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings discovered the book and created a start-up, Windblown Media, to publish it. The novel sold a million copies for them in the first year, eventually ending up at No. 1 on the New York Times' trade paperback bestseller list.

Then Hachette Book Group got involved. In May 2008, the publishing conglomerate -- one of the largest in the country -- cut a deal with Windblown Media to market and distribute the book. In the two years since, "The Shack" has become a 12-million-copy-selling phenomenon and the biggest Christian publishing sensation in decades.

But unlike Cinderella -- at least in the Disney version -- there's no happy ending in sight for Young, or for the two men, Jacobsen and Cummings, he once called friends and business partners.

For nearly eight months, the trio have been mired in a series of lawsuits, accusations flying over improper accounting practices, millions of dollars in missing royalties, contract breaches, and copyright disputes. Hachette, meanwhile, just wants to know to whom it owes money -- and how much..... Read this in full at,0,6240949.story

A British Airways agent prayerfully sits listening to Christian music. Before her, a wooden cross hangs on the wall. As she gets up to leave, an employee of South African Airways walks in, quietly bows his head as he stands there for a few minutes, then exits. Soon, a police officer walks in, Bible in hand. He selects a corner, sits and reads from the Book.

Scenes like this are repeated around the clock at the newly renovated prayer chapel of Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport. It was set up in time to meet the high demand of incoming and outgoing World Cup visitors.

The airport averages more than 76,000 passengers a day.... Read this in full at

Jamahl Glaze knows a good opportunity when he sees it. He's attended LifeWay's men's conferences four of the past five years with his church, Consolidated Baptist in Lexington, Ky. He makes the trip because he sees the time as an investment.

"I need to invest in myself as a man," Glaze noted, "by gathering with other men who love Jesus and are trying to live for Him."

Glaze assembled with 630 likeminded men at LifeWay Christian Resources' Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina for the two-day sessions. Its focus -- "I'm the Man" -- called on men to embrace their God-given roles of leading, protecting, mentoring and serving.

Jay Wells, LifeWay's director of black church relations, organized the sessions with a specific goal in view. "We wanted to create an experience where the affirmation of men happens," Wells said. "We wanted to see men changed through a concentrated dose of God's presence in a compressed, focused time of teaching and encouragement."

Inspirational worship, preaching and breakout groups fostered that experience.... Read this in full at

I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”
     ~Corrie ten Boom

"Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”
     ~1 Chronicles 29:11

Words: William W. How, 1864
Music: Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1906

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!
>from NetHymnal at

If Christ Himself needed to retire from time to time to the mountain-top to pray, lesser men need not be ashamed to acknowledge that necessity.”
     ~B. H. Streeter


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.

15 Great iPhone Apps for Men

40 Terrific Works of Art Made From Common Trash

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.)

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
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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