man to man to God
week of September 5, 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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his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them
as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him,
not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but
one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God
based on faith.”
should as soon attempt to raise flowers if there were no
atmosphere, or produce fruits if there were neither light nor
heat, as to regenerate men if I did not believe there was a Holy
Henry Ward Beecher
THE SPIRIT REALLY SAY...?
British historian of evangelicalism David Bebbington, in his now
classic Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, has noted, conversionism
-- or what I call decisionism -- is part and parcel of our
Christian subculture. The Christian life does not just evolve. It
also requires specific decisions and public commitments to deepen
our faith and obedience.
also believe that Christ is raised from the dead, alive and active
in his Holy Spirit. He is not only Lord of the world, but of our
lives, a God who would guide us with his loving, even daily
we've had to learn how to negotiate moments [when we hear what
could be whispers from God] -- knowing that not every thought that
pops into our head is from the Spirit, and knowing full well that
some of them are! We've all looked back in gratitude for such
is not something we talk about much, especially in the chattering
classes -- writers, speakers, professors, public intellectuals,
and so forth. And as mature adults -- some of us quite mature in
years, anyway -- we certainly don't like to admit that peer
pressure can sway us as much as it does adolescents. But as Paul
Froese and Christopher Bader note in their new book America's Four
Gods: What We Say about God - and What That Says about Us, a
strong belief in God's involvement in the world is a distinctive
of evangelical theology and practice. We believe that Christ is
alive in the Spirit, and that we are in a personal relationship
with a God who is actively guiding and shaping our lives. So I
suspect that most of us have to wrestle with, and often repent
about, such matters....
concluded that God often does not lose sleep over whether we guess
his will correctly. If this were his highest priority, I think
he'd be a lot clearer about making his will plain! A higher
priority for him seems to be this: humble and contrite hearts that
are willing to risk, to step into the unknown just because it
might be God's will. He honors the heart as much as the
execution.... Read this in full at
MORE TEENS BECOMING 'FAKE' CHRISTIANS
you're the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has
this warning: Your child is following a "mutant" form of
Christianity, and you may be responsible.
says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls
"moralistic therapeutic deism." Translation: It's a
watered-down faith that portrays God as a "divine therapist"
whose chief goal is to boost people's self-esteem.
is a minister, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and
the author of "Almost Christian," a new book that argues
that many parents and pastors are unwittingly passing on this
self-serving strain of Christianity.
says this “imposter” faith is one reason teenagers
abandon churches. "If this is the God they're seeing in
church, they are right to leave us in the dust," Dean says.
"Churches don't give them enough to be passionate about."
.... Read this in full at
is a power that destroys. There is also a power that creates. The
power that creates gives life and joy and peace. It is freedom and
not bondage, life and not death, transformation and not coercion.
The power that creates restores relationship and gives the gift of
wholeness to all. The power that creates is spiritual power, the
power that proceeds from God.”
Richard Foster, in his
book Money, Sex and Power
REMEMBERING THE AWFUL REALITY
so often in life prescribes moderation. It’s wise to eat
with moderation, to speak with moderation, to feel with
moderation, some would even say to believe with moderation. But
there’s absolutely nothing moderate about the doctrine of
hell. It’s extreme in every way. It’s an extreme idea
for the mind. It’s an extreme confrontation for the heart.
And it blows against all the rules of social etiquette.
the reality of hell means setting aside moderation. It means
admitting that our sin is dark and heinous to the point of eternal
damnation; that the white light of God’s character and glory
justly destroys those who have fallen short of his glory; and that
that our non-Christians friends have nothing greater to fear.
That’s tough to do when you have moderate views of your sin,
your friend’s sin, and of God’s glory.
the reality of hell also means going against the fallen cultural
structures and belief systems of this world, all of which conspire
together with our own hearts to repeat the serpent’s promise
of a moderate outcome, “You will surely not die.” ....
Read this in full at
TOWARD THE GOAL
August my oldest son Taylor and I hiked up Mt. Mansfield,
Vermont's highest peak at 4,400 feet. It was something that Taylor
has wanted to do for quite a while but we had just not gotten to
it yet. He had graduated from high school and was set to leave for
college the following week, and we realized we needed to make the
hike before the opportunity passed. So we filled our backpacks
with two days' worth of food, hitched our sleeping bags to the
packs and started up the mountain.
am 43 years old, 25 pounds overweight and my right leg is wired,
screwed and pinned together with a rod running up the interior of
my leg bone due to a serious automobile accident I was in more
than a decade ago. Though I love to walk each morning, there is a
big difference between taking a walk on familiar roads around my
home and climbing the tallest mountain in our rugged state.
Needless to say, it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my
learned a number of things during that hike. The first thing I
learned is that when we have a goal in mind, we must stay focused
on it and keep moving toward it. We may experience pain along the
way, but we must keep going. We may have some tight spots to
squeeze through, but we must keep going. We may have some
unexpected delays along the way, but we must keep going. If we
hope to achieve our goals in life, we must learn to just keep
going until we have climbed all the mountains in our path.... Read
this in full at
MEGACHURCH ENDS AGE-SEGREGATED WORSHIP
Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has taken an
unusual step to bring all of its congregants together. The
megachurch has discontinued its current traditional and
contemporary Sunday worship services in favor of only one, more
integrated and blended service. Church leaders say the move is
designed to break down separations based on age, likes and
comfort. "The best way a church can demonstrate unifying
power of the Gospel before our very segregated world is to
maintain a community that transcends cultural barriers,"
Senior Pastor Tullian Tchividjian said in a sermon in August.
"Generational appeal in worship is an unintentional admission
that the Gospel is powerless to join together what man has
separated," he said.... Read this in full at
NOT CREATE THE UNIVERSE, SAYS HAWKING
did not create the universe and the "Big Bang" was an
inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, the eminent British
theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book.
"The Grand Design," co-authored with U.S. physicist
Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking says a new series of theories made a
creator of the universe redundant, according to the Times
newspaper which published extracts on Thursday.
there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create
itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is
something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we
exist," Hawking writes.
is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and
set the universe going." .... Read this in full at
also “Stephen Hawking Breaks Atheist Rules”
HE IS NOT
the Old and New Testaments affirm that God is immortal, invisible,
immutable, and self-existent. He is not a created being and is not
therefore subject to the laws of nature. He created those laws,
and all of nature and the cosmos adhere to them. God the Creator
is outside time and space and cannot be proved or disproved by
science, but he has given us a record of himself in the testimony
of the prophets and apostles and, most important, through the
life, death, and resurrection of his Son.
good news is that there is a God and he is not silent. There is a
Creator who made the world, a Creator who made it possible for us
to communicate with him, and, through simple faith, to find
answers to life's most challenging questions. As more and more of
us come to recognize this truth, the schools and colleges, and
perhaps even the philosophy of science will have to change. And
who knows where that could lead?”
Jim Nelson Black, in
his book The Death of Evolution
an atheist (Christopher Hitchens) to think when thousands of
believers (including prominent rabbis and priests) are praying for
his survival and salvation -- while others believe his cancer was
divinely inspired, and hope that he burns in hell? .... Read this
in full at
'EVIDENCE FOR BELIEF:' AN INTERVIEW WITH FRANCIS COLLINS
some, there is an inherent conflict between science and religious
belief. Indeed, some scientists, including famed evolutionary
biologist Richard Dawkins, argue that an understanding of the
natural world logically leads to atheism. But for Francis Collins,
head of the Human Genome Project and an evangelical Christian,
scientific knowledge complements rather than contradicts belief in
God. In his 2006 bestselling book, The Language of God: A
Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Collins argues that
advances in science present "an opportunity for worship,"
rather than a catalyst for doubt. The Pew Forum interviewed Dr.
Collins about his views on science and religion.... Read this
interview in full at
became a Christian again during my last year of college. After
years of wrestling with God and doubting his existence, I had an
intense, spiritual epiphany that seemed to change my life
instantly. The following day, though it sounds hokey to say so,
the grass looked greener, the sky bluer. Ordering coffee that day
from a complete stranger, I nearly burst into tears. This is
another child of God! I thought to myself. What a shame I'm
handing her cash instead of praising God with her.
moment was unlike any I've ever since experienced. Suddenly, and
without words, I knew that God had said to me, I AM. Nothing more,
just I AM. With those words, God told me that he cared enough
about me to reveal just this little bit about himself. I AM. It
answered none of my questions and gave no explanation for God's
five-year absence in my life. But those words were enough. I could
say with Peter, "You have the words of eternal life. We
believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
were a number of people through whom God worked before that
revelation. Yet the biggest influence on my spiritual journey was
the novels and philosophy of Albert Camus, a French existentialist
of the 1940s and '50s -- and an atheist. C. S. Lewis warned, "A
young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too
careful of his reading." Camus should have been safe
territory for me, but as I like to say now, I was saved by an
atheist.... Read this in full at
OVER 8 IN
10 WORLDWIDE SEE RELIGION AS IMPORTANT
than eight in ten adults in the world say religion is an important
part of their daily lives, according to Gallup surveys conducted
last year in 114 countries. And, as past surveys have found, there
remains a strong correlation between a country's socioeconomic
status and the religiosity of its residents.
the world's poorest countries -– those with average
per-capita incomes of $2,000 or less -– the median
proportion who say religion is important in their daily lives is
95%. In contrast, the median for the richest countries -–
those with average per-capita incomes over $25,000 -– is
47%.... Read this in full at
have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right
hand, I will not be shaken."
is the reward of faith. Therefore do not seek to understand in
order to believe, but believe that you may understand.”
Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel
according to St. John, vol. i, Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. x of The
Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T
Clark, 1873, p. 405
COLLEGE PRESIDENT R. JUDSON CARLBERG ANNOUNCES 2011 RETIREMENT
35 years of service at Gordon College, President R. Judson
Carlberg has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2011.
Under Carlberg's 19-year tenure as president, the College has
experienced substantial growth and recognition for its academic
excellence, global programs, and campus facilities.... Read this
in full at
DAY 2010: SEPT. 12
1970, Marian McQuade began a campaign to set aside a special day
just for grandparents. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the
first presidential proclamation, designating the first Sunday
after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. The first official
observance was Sept. 9, 1979 -- and has been celebrated every year
since. In honor of our nation’s grandparents, the Census
Bureau presents an array of data about the role they play in our
number of grandparents whose grandchildren younger than 18 lived
with them in 2008.
number of grandparents responsible for most of the basic needs
(i.e., food, shelter, clothing) of one or more of the
grandchildren who lived with them in 2008. These grandparents
represented about 41% of all grandparents whose grandchildren
lived with them. Of these caregivers, 1.6 million were
grandmothers, and 983,000 were grandfathers.
of grandparents who were caring for their grandchildren and whose
income was below the poverty level. This represents 493,000
Read this in full at
ASCENSION: DID JESUS PASS SATURN ON HIS WAY UP?
Prof. John Stackhouse
new friend writes: “George Stroumboulopoulos had Bill Maher
on his program talking about his film ‘Religulous’.
Bill asked a question, not unlike the questions you were asking
Friday ie) ‘what really happened’, when Jesus ascended
bodily into heaven. Bill was of course happily irreverent,
wondering if Jesus was concerned about the disciples seeing up his
robe as he arose, further wondering what happened once Jesus
reached the zone where there is no oxygen, and then queried
whether Jesus just carried on up past the moon and planets
about Jesus’ ascension? Well, Jesus does not in fact go up
all that far. If one reads the actual account with a modicum of
attention (Acts of the Apostles chapter one), one finds that “a
cloud received him out of their sight.” Jesus does not, in
fact, rise up through the atmosphere. Once he gets to the height
of “the sky” or “the heavens” (same thing
in Hebrew and in Greek), the dramatic point is made: this
crucified “failure” is being vindicated by God and on
his way to the majesty he deserves. The point made, Jesus
disappears into a cloud and transfers (we know not how) to his
current situation at the right hand of God.... Read this in full
God will give us what we demand and let us take the consequences.
This is not because he hates us or has given up on us. As harsh as
those consequences may be, they are still under the control of a
God who loves us and a God who sees. He sees the big picture. He
sees what's coming. He knows the events and challenges for which
we need to be prepared. In Hebrews, we read, ‘No discipline
seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it
produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have
been trained by it’ (12:11).
discipline trains us. It produces righteousness and peace. And God
knows we desperately need these things. Just as a caring coach
disciplines a player, God, in his care, may send a corrective
discipline into the lives of his children. His discipline is
intended to prepare us for the challenges and conflicts that lie
in our future.”
Jeff Manion, in his book The Land
TALK SHOW DEBUTS ON TV COUNSELING CALLERS ON SEX, DRUG, AND OTHER
wife from Atlanta pours out her heart regarding her husband's
fetish for cross-dressing. A lonely trucker admits he seeks solace
by searching the Internet for pornography; then his wife finds him
doing the same thing at home.
you might not expect is that both of these callers are sharing
their problems on a Christian radio show. "New Life Live"
airs 5 days a week on nearly 200 radio stations, with an audience
of two million listeners.
hour-long program, hosted by Steve Arterburn, (best selling author
with 8,000,000 books in print) takes a different approach to
dealing with a Christian's inner demons. "What we deal with
every day is reality," says the 57-year old family counselor.
"Christians are not immune from addictions -- whether it be
sex, food, or drugs. We try to help them deal with those issues
using faith and Biblical principles as an anchor."
Arterburn is taking his radio program to television. "We are
reaching a whole new audience with Gods truth, unexpected humor
and our unique tag team counseling.
Life Live" (www.newlifelive.tv) will appear on the Family
Network. The Dallas-based network reaches over 20 million homes
and has slotted the one hour program into its daily TV lineup at 2
Arterburn for the fall launch is New York Times best-selling
author, Max Lucado, whose books have sold more than 65 million
copies, his most recent release being Out Live Your Life.... Read
this in full at
WOMEN ARE HAPPIER GOING TO CHURCH THAN SHOPPING ON SUNDAYS
new study conducted by a Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU)
researcher, together with a researcher from De-Paul University,
reveals that women in the United States generally derive more
happiness from religious participation than from shopping on
the repeal of "blue laws," which allow stores to open on
Sundays, has a negative effect on the level of religious
participation of white women and therefore has a negative impact
on their happiness. The authors did not observe any significant
decline in reported happiness of other groups whose religious
participation was not significantly affected by repeal.
research also reveals that when Sunday blue laws are repealed,
women who choose secular activities, such as shopping, are not
happier. The repeal of blue laws decreases the relative
probability of being at least “pretty happy” relative
to “not happy” by about 17%.... Read this in full at
MARGIN, VOTERS WANT DEMOCRATS TO WIN HOUSE AND SENATE; SPLIT
EVENLY ON RE-ELECTING OBAMA; EVANGELICALS FEEL DIFFERENTLY
the mid-term election in November, Americans have a chance to
return power to the Republican Party after two years of Democratic
Party rule. However, a new survey by The Barna Group (Ventura, CA)
suggests that if the election were held today, only a slim
majority of voters would return the Democrats to a majority
position in both the House and Senate.
addition, voters are evenly divided as to whether they would
return Barack Obama to the White House.
various segments of the Christian population maintain divergent
support levels for both Congress and the president. The religious
segments of the voter population most firmly supportive of the
Democrats and of President Obama are the Skeptics (i.e., atheists
and agnostics) and people from non-Christian faiths.... Read this
in full at
BECK POSITIONS HIMSELF AS NEW LEADER FOR CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES
those surprised by all of conservative TV host Glenn Beck's recent
religious talk -- including at August 28th's Washington rally,
where Beck said that "America today begins to turn back to
God," -- is the Rev. Richard Land, a Southern Baptist leader.
been stunned," said Land, who directs public policy for the
Southern Baptist Convention and who attended the Saturday rally at
Beck's invitation. "This guy's on secular radio and
television," Land said, "but his shows sound like you're
listening to the Trinity Broadcasting Network, only it's more
orthodox and there's no appeal for money ... and today he sounded
like Billy Graham."
speeches around his "Restoring Honor" rally have brimmed
with religious language: "God dropped a giant sandbag on his
head" to push him to organize the rally, he said August 27.
Beck held a religion-focused event at the Kennedy Center that was
billed as Glenn Beck's Divine Destiny. His speech the next day
also evoked the feel of a religious revival. "Look forward.
Look West. Look to the heavens. Look to God and make your choice,"
has also begun organizing top conservative religious leaders -
mostly evangelicals - into a fledgling group called the Black
Robed Regiment. The organization, whose charter members convened
in Washington this weekend, takes its name from American clergy
sympathetic to the Revolution during the 1700s.
emerging role as a national leader for Christian conservatives is
surprising not only because he has until recently stressed a
libertarian ideology that is sometimes at odds with so-called
family values conservatism, but also because Beck is a Mormon.
Many of the evangelicals who Beck is speaking to and organizing,
including Land, don't believe he is a Christian.... Read this in
also “An Open Letter to Glenn Beck” by Jim Wallis
EXPERIENCE, FRONTLINE PRESENT GOD IN AMERICA
the days when the Puritan "city on a hill" beckoned on
the horizon of the New World, religious faith and belief have
forged America's ideals, molded its identity and shaped its sense
of mission at home and abroad.
the first time on television, “God in America”
explores the tumultuous 400-year history of the intersection of
religion and public life in America, from the first European
settlements to the 2008 presidential election. A co-production of
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE, this 6-hour series examines how
religious dissidents helped shape the American concept of
religious liberty and the controversial evolution of that ideal in
the nation's courts and political arena; how religious freedom and
waves of new immigrants and religious revivals fueled competition
in the religious marketplace; how movements for social reform --
from abolition to civil rights -- galvanized men and women to put
their faith into political action; and how religious faith
influenced conflicts from the American Revolution to the Cold War.
documentary footage, historical dramatization, and interviews with
religious historians, the 6-part series will air over three
consecutive nights, 9-11 pm ET, beginning October 11, 2010....
Read this in full at
impulse of love that leads us to the doorway of a friend is the
voice of God within and we need not be afraid to follow it.”
who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does
not have life."
1 John 5:12
WEEK'S HYMN: WE BUILD OUR SCHOOL ON THEE
Sebastian W. Meyer, 1908
James W. Elliott, 1874
build our school on Thee, O Lord,
Thee we bring our common need;
loving heart, the helpful word,
tender thought, the kindly deed.
work together in Thy sight,
live together in Thy love;
Thou our faltering steps aright,
lift our thought to Heaven above.
Thou each hand to keep it just,
Thou our lips and make them pure,
Thou art with us, Lord, we must
faithful friends and comrades sure.
change, but Thou art still the same,
same good Master, Teacher, Friend;
change; but Lord, we bear Thy Name,
journey with it to the end.
prayer is always a response to a presence already felt. The
awareness of a desire to pray again is already prayer. As the
desert fathers so often said, ‘If you want to pray, you are
Edward J. Farrell, from
Gathering the Fragments
FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
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
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s
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.
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is lovely when it's easy, but much truer when it's hard.
Frank Coleman, Editor
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CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of
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Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, email@example.com
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