Connecting man to man to God
For week of August 29, 2010
Issue 319

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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But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, [the Lord's] mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 21:22

One hallmark of freedom is the sound of laughter.”  
Harry Ashmore

A Baptist seminary professor said Aug. 20 it is hypocritical for Christians to preach against sins like homosexuality they see outside of the church and not about sins like divorce that affect church members.

"It is very, very easy for you to get 'amens' and applause by standing up and denouncing sins that are not immediately present in your own congregation," Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said during a weekend conference on the church and home at the seminary in Louisville, Ky. "Look at the difference between the way conservative evangelical churches in America speak to the issue of divorce and the issue of homosexuality," said Moore, who also is teaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville.

Moore said both the issues of divorce and homosexuality are clearly addressed in the Bible, but "in the one case we speak in very muted and ambiguous terms."

"The reason we say we do that is because divorced people are hurting and they need grace and mercy," he said. "Of course! Do you not think homosexuals need grace and mercy?" .... Read this in full at

One day in [Sunday school], I remember [my teacher] saying something that surprised me, and I replied, "Golly!" Immediately she turned my direction and screeched, ‘What did you say, son?’ I whispered it again. ‘Mr. Bezet, don't you know that golly is a form of using God's name in vain?’ With her long, bony index finger pointed at me she continued berating me in front of the whole class. ‘Hell is hot, Bezet, don't you ever forget it.’ And trust me, I haven't.

Unfortunately, too many people think God is like my dear old Sunday school teacher -- a harsh, angry, judgmental, finger-pointing tyrant who cannot wait to identify your failures. That's just not who God is. Every story in the Bible points to one divine message: God is for you. He wants you to experience the best. He loves you even when you mess up, and he never gets mad at you. And yet so many Christians continue to live under the weight of condemnation and discouragement, but that doesn't come from God. Even if you've done horrible things and your friends have turned their backs on you and your family won't speak to you, you can count on one thing: God will be right there in your corner encouraging you. The whole world might give up on you, but God never will.”
Rick Bezet, from his book What is God Really Like

Two-thirds of Americans (67%) currently say that religion is losing its influence on American life, up from 59% who said the same in July 2006, according to the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center.

And, as in the past, most of those who say that religion has less influence on American life see this development as a bad thing – 53% of the total public says it is a bad thing while just 10% see it as a good thing.

When it comes to the involvement of churches and other houses of worship in political matters, Americans are more divided, with a narrow majority (52%) saying houses of worship should keep out of political matters.

Forty-three percent say houses of worship should express their views on day-to-day social and political questions. But when it comes to endorsing specific candidates for public office, 70% of American surveyed said churches should not come out in favor of candidates during political elections while just a quarter (24%) supports such endorsements.... Read this in full at

The new principal of the International Christian College says the end of Christendom is the biggest challenge facing the church in the West. Richard Tiplady started in his new role as principal of ICC in August after departing from European Christian Mission, where he had been British Director for the last six years.

He spoke of the need to re-think church in a post-Christendom and increasingly plural context. “The biggest challenge we have to face in the West in our mission is to accept that Christendom is over.

That we are no longer in a privileged position of power in society and that we do ourselves no service -– we do the gospel no service -– to clamor to bring it back.

I think that means we need to think again about how we live as Christians, the purpose of Church, discipleship, and the function of church leadership,” he said.

Tiplady spoke of his passion to see a new generation of Christians released and growing in ministry and even more lives transformed by the gospel.... Read this in full at

Bumps, scrapes and bruises are not just associated with boyhood but are necessary in order to raise men equipped to exercise spiritual leadership in their homes, a Southern Baptist seminary professor said at a weekend conference on "connecting church and home."

"We are raising our young boys to be way too soft, way too careful, as if the ultimate prize in our parenting of boys is to get them to 18 years old and say they never got hurt, nothing bad ever happened," Randy Stinson, dean of the School of Church Ministries at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said at the conference held Aug. 20-21 on the seminary campus in Louisville, Ky. "They never experienced pain. They never experienced disappointment. They have just had a wonderfully smooth life,"

"What you've done, you have handicapped that boy for the rest of his life," Stinson counseled. "He will be a weak, soft, ineffective man."

Stinson, who also serves as president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, said a "therapeutic" model that eliminates competition and rough play among boys has created a generation of 20-something males that are the "most self-absorbed generation in American history."

Stinson said that has spawned an industry of things like male skin-care and hair-color products that would have been unimaginable a generation ago.

Stinson said one problem facing churches today is a "feminization" of the gospel that began early in Christianity with a "bridal mysticism" that applied poetry about the relationship between man and woman in the Song of Solomon as a metaphor for the church's relationship with Christ.... Read this in full at

by Mark Galli
To: James, President of the Jerusalem Council
Re: Initial Impressions

Shalom Marketing Ltd. was recently contacted by a member of your council, asking us to tell you about our services. He said to make it clear that he was footing the bill for this initial evaluation, with the hopes that our sound advice will encourage the council to hire us to guide your marketing efforts for the next strategic stage in your movement's life.

We have heard reports of your movement for some time now -- who hasn't? -- and our initial impressions are very positive! You seem to have dynamic leadership, organizational flexibility, and a natural touch with the people. Add some sophisticated marketing -- well, who knows how successful you can become! Naturally, this brief memo will, by its nature, point out areas in need of attention, but make no mistake: We have great optimism about what we call your "effectiveness potential." .... Read this in full at

Yahoo travel produced a piece on the world's happiest countries citing data from a Gallup poll that looked at responses from 155 countries between 2005 and 2009.

First they asked subjects to reflect on their overall satisfaction with their lives, and ranked their answers using a 'life evaluation' score between 1 and 10. Then they asked questions about how each subject had felt the previous day. Those answers allowed researchers to score their 'daily experiences' -- things like whether they felt well-rested, respected, free of pain, and intellectually engaged.

This study reminds one of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan and its call to replace Gross National Product with a Gross National Happiness Index as the leading economic indicator. But Bhutan does not appear with top marks in the Gallup poll. (However it did, according to the BusinessWorld article, rank 8th out of 178 in a ranking of "Subjective Well-being" by Adrian G. White of the University of Leicester. This was, moreover, "despite the fact that it is the only country in the top 20 'happiest' countries that has a very low GDP").

The nations taking the top spots include: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands. This might not come as a surprise to many who have been to these nations. What is surprising, however, is that three of these five nations are among the top 10 least religious nations in the world (also from Gallup).... Read this in full at

1. Watch your back. In line at the grocery store, I’ll hold my phone like I’m looking at the screen and snap your card as you’re using it. Next thing you know, I’m ordering things online—on your dime.

2. That red flag tells the mail carrier -- and me -- that you have outgoing mail. And that can mean credit card numbers and checks I can reproduce.

3. Check your bank and credit card balances at least once a week. I can do a lot of damage in the 30 days between statements.... Read this in full at

The Community Church of Joy in Glendale, Arizona, exemplified the successful church of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In 2002 the congregation had 12,000 members. Church operations filled a sprawling 187-acre campus. Community Church of Joy was known as a place where people could enjoy worship experiences that were fun and upbeat, with high production values.

But the pastor who had built this successful church had second thoughts. Walt Kallestad began to wonder what it all amounted to. If Community Church of Joy were to suddenly disappear, would anyone in the larger Phoenix metropolitan area notice or care? Had the church made any real difference?

Kallestad confessed his disquiet to his congregation. He told them the Church was little more than "a dispenser of religious goods and services." People hadn't been asked to make sacrifices, or involve themselves with their neighbor's needs or trials, nor did they welcome challenges to grow and mature. A third of the membership left.

A similar "come-to-Jesus" moment recently occurred at the granddaddy of the modern megachurches, Willow Creek Community Church.... Read this in full at

World Christian leaders are paying tribute to the ecumenical Taize community in eastern France, which is marking the 70th anniversary of its founding in 1940 by Brother Roger Schutz, who died in 2005.

In a message in advance of the Aug. 14 commemoration, Pope Benedict XVI described Schutz as a "pioneer in the difficult paths toward unity among the disciples of Christ."

"Seventy years ago, he began a community that continues to see thousands of young adults, searching for meaning in their lives, come to it from around the world, welcoming them in prayer and allowing them to experience a personal relationship with God," Benedict said.

Schutz died at age 90 after being attacked with a knife by a mentally disturbed woman during evening prayers on Aug. 16, 2005 at the ecumenical community's headquarters in Burgundy.

Schutz, a Swiss Protestant, arrived in the village of Taize on Aug. 20, 1940 with the idea of founding an ecumenical monastic community.

"With him and the brothers who shared his vision ..., Taize has become a true center, a focal point and a place of gathering; a place of deepening in prayer, of listening and humility," said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodoxy.

From the 1960s onwards, thousands of young people made pilgrimages to Taize to experience its ecumenical spirituality and unique worship styles.... Read this in full at

by Bill Ellis
Every day by conversation, books, radio, magazines, television, newspapers and emails from intelligent people, I engage in serious discussion about what is going on in America and the rest of the world. The big questions seem to center on leadership, the economy, ethics, disease, crime, disasters, morality, starvation, war, education and religion.

There seems to be a tendency to imagine that every way will work if accepted. Any voice of dissent and opposition is met with cries of intolerance. Would our problems all be solved if we tolerated anything and everything? If no objections were ever raised?

Is there any place in our national and international discussions and differences for plain and simple truth? What has happened to our willingness to be governed by truth? .... Read this in full at

The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"
Romans 13:9

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary -- the evil it does is permanent.”
Indira Gandhi

by Jim Fusilli
Last year, Ricky Skaggs issued "Solo (Songs My Dad Loved)," a bluegrass album on which he played every instrument and sang all the parts. A year before that, he released "Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass." Now comes "Mosaic" (Skaggs Family), with a Christian theme. Earlier this summer on the Upper West Side here I asked him if the new disc was part of a continuum: musical fathers, blood father, heavenly father. He replied, "All my music is for the glory of God."

Mr. Skaggs has long included songs of faith in his repertoire, as have many, if not all, bluegrass artists. His recent recordings include the classic bluegrass gospel songs "Remember the Cross," "Sinners, You Better Get Ready," "God Holds the Future in His Hands" and "This World is Not My Home."

"I'm mostly known as a secular artist who plays clubs, casinos and beer joints, fairs. We're out there among the regular people," he said from a coffee-shop booth. "But I'm a Christian and I believe the truth of the Bible. I try to live it everyday of my life. It's not something I put on like a suit of clothes." His music, he reiterated, stems from his faith. "But it's not a preachy thing. I like to do music that's inspired." .... Read this in full at

by Jim Denison
I lived in Malaysia during the summer of 1979. When Ramadan began that year, everything changed. Muslims ate nothing from sunrise to sundown; most would not even swallow the moisture in their mouths (public places posted signs warning, "No Spitting"). When the sun set, feasting and festivities began and continued late into the evening. Then the next sunrise would begin the solemnities again.

The month reminded me in a strange way of Christmas in the States -- every part of the culture was affected and everyone participated. I had no idea what Ramadan meant or why it mattered, but my ignorance placed me clearly in the minority.

Unfortunately, I represented the vast majority of Americans. Ask most people in our culture why 1.5 billion Muslims are observing Ramadan right now, and they'll have no idea. Tell most Christians that Ramadan began this year on the sunset of August 10 and they'll shrug their shoulders. Let's take a moment to learn what all believers need to know about this crucial subject.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Laylat al-Qadr is the night during the month when Muslims believe Muhammad received the first revelation of what became the Quran.

Fasting during this month is required by the Quran: "Whoever witnesses the month of Ramadan should fast through it" (2:185). Muhammad taught that those who fast during Ramadan will have their past sins forgiven. As a result, fasting during Ramadan is seen as central and critical to the five pillars of Islam:
* The witness (Shahadah): "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his prophet."
* Praying five times a day facing Mecca (Salah).
* Fasting during Ramadan (Siyam).
* Alms-giving to the poor (Zakat).
* The pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj), to be made at least once by every able-bodied Muslim.... Read this in full at

by Eugene Cho
I’m thankful that God rarely answers our constant requests of wanting to know the future. Why? Because if we knew, we’d never move forward. We’d be tempted to do what Jonah did: He ran the other way.

I can tell you right now that if I knew what the past year or the past 10 years would have been like, I’d be in complete paralysis. I have no idea what the next decade holds for me but I no longer want or need to know. It’s in good hands. I’ll just do my best. Live by grace. And trust.

I’m a dreamer. Yes, I have my bouts with cynicism but in my heart of hearts, I am a dreamer and an idealist. I believe I can change the world. But over the years, I have learned an amazing lesson: The best part of wanting to change the world…is that you get changed in the process.... Read this in full at

Already more than one million people have been invited to attend church on Sunday, Sept. 12, as part of the national "Back To Church Sunday" campaign to reach unchurched people.

Churches and church members involved in the campaign can send invitations to friends and family by using resources found on the "Back To Church" website ( By mid-August, the total number of print and electronic invitations neared 1.2 million.

"Seeing the number of invitations eclipse one million encourages me to believe that God is actively using Christians to impact their communities," said Philip Nation, director of ministry development for LifeWay Research and national spokesperson for "Back to Church Sunday," which conducts studies to assist and equip church leaders with insights that lead to greater church health and effectiveness.... Read this in full at

Church-owned hospitals are "significantly more likely to provide higher quality care," according to a study. Roman Catholic and other church-run health care systems in the USA are more efficient and provide higher quality care than their secular counterparts, according to a new Thomson Reuters report.

The study looked at 255 health care systems and found that Catholic and other church-owned systems are "significantly more likely to provide higher quality care and efficiency" than both investor-owned and nonprofit health systems, Religion News Service reports.

There was no statistical difference between Catholic and other church-run health systems, according to the study, which built on information gleaned from Reuters' "Top 100 Hospitals" report.... Read this in full at

Paul "Chubby" Chubb cranks up the engine of his big Dodge pickup and sets off on his daily rounds, running errands for the Amish, taking them shopping, delivering goods, and making friends along the way. "People like them here," Chubby, 82, said of the Amish. "If people have a bad word, they are to blame."

Chubby figures there are about eight people in the area who do what he does -- driving the Amish around for a fee, called "taxis" in the local parlance. A day riding around the Lykens Valley with Chubby provides rare glimpses of Amish life.

This rural hamlet is a microcosm of an Amish population boom that has soared nationally by 84%, from 1992 to 2008. The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College reports that the population has been doubling every 20 years because of large family sizes and a retention rate of around 90%.... Read this in full at

Two Australian couples have sued doctors because they failed to detect Down syndrome in their unborn babies and thereby prevented them from aborting those children.

The couples, both residents of the state of Victoria, are seeking damages for financial loss, the expenses of caring for their children, and "psychiatric injury," according to The Herald Sun, a Melbourne newspaper.

One of the children is 5 years old, and the other is 2.

In the claim of the parents of the 5-year-old girl, they said, "Had the presence of Down syndrome been diagnosed at the time of the first trimester ultrasound and/or at the time of the second trimester ultrasound, a time frame which permitted the termination of the pregnancy, then the (mother) would have terminated the pregnancy."

Such instances have been dubbed "wrongful birth" suit.

The father of the 5-year-old says he loves his daughter and treats "her like gold," but other parents of Down children say the lawsuit is appalling.... Read this in full at

When St. Joseph Abbey decided to open a woodshop on All Saints Day 2007 to sell handcrafted caskets to the public, the hope was that the sales would pay for the medical and educational needs of the abbey's 36 Benedictine monks. The board regulating Louisiana's embalmers and funeral directors, however, would have none of it.

Before a single casket was sold, the monks received a cease-and-desist letter, citing a state statute that carried thousands of dollars in fines and up to 180 days in prison for anyone selling funeral boxes without first paying the fees and meeting the requirements necessary to get a license.

On Aug. 12, the 121-year-old abbey fired back with a lawsuit that asks a federal judge to strike down that law. “We need the income ... from the caskets to survive,” said Abbot Justin Brown, the head of the abbey, during a news conference outside US District Court in New Orleans.... Read this in full at

Three decades ago, China's Cultural Revolution saw some of the most dramatic restrictions on the practice of religion ever seen in the modern world. But today's communist rulers have radically altered their views about religion and have granted substantial freedom to Christians prepared to worship within state-sanctioned churches.

Within these boundaries, Christianity is growing in China as never before -- and doing so supported by millions of dollars of government funding.

The BBC has been given unprecedented access to China's state-sanctioned Protestant and Catholic churches, to examine why the government seems so keen to invest in religion.... Read this in full at

Until our Master summons us, not a hair on our head can perish, not a moment of our life be snatched from us. When He sends for us, it should seem by the message that the child is wanted at home.”
Anthony Thorold

"When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."
Psalm 94:18-19

Words: John Newton, Olney Hymns (London: W. Oliver, 1779), number 135.
Music: Abridge, Isaac Smith, in Collection of Psalm Tunes in Three Parts, 1770

Afflictions do not come alone,
A voice attends the rod;
By both He to His saints is known,
A Father and a God!

Let not My children slight the stroke
I for chastisement send;
Nor faint beneath My kind rebuke,
For still I am their Friend.

The wicked I perhaps may leave
Awhile, and not reprove;
But all the children I receive
I scourge, because I love.

If therefore you were left without
This needful discipline;
You might, with cause, admit a doubt,
If you, indeed, were Mine.

Shall earthly parents then expect
Their children to submit?
And wilt not you, when I correct,
Be humbled at My feet?

To please themselves they oft chastise,
And put their sons to pain;
But you are precious in My eyes,
And shall not smart in vain.

I see your hearts, at present, filled
With grief, and deep distress;
But soon these bitter seeds shall yield
The fruits of righteousness.

Break through the clouds, dear Lord, and shine!
Let us perceive Thee nigh!
And to each mourning child of Thine
These gracious words apply.
>from NetHymnal at

Prayer lays hold of  God’s plan and becomes the link between His will and its accomplishment on earth. Amazing things happen, and we are given the privilege of being the channels of the Holy Spirit’s prayer.”
Elisabeth Elliot


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.

TIME’s 50 Best Websites of 2010,28757,2012721,00.html

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.)

Today I'm gonna make yesterday jealous.
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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