man to man to God
week of September 12, 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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one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in
power. Who should not revere you, O King of the nations? This is
your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their
kingdoms, there is no one like you.”
is love that cares and stoops and rescues.”
John R. W.
is grace at the beginning, and grace at the end. So that when you
and I come to lie upon our death beds, the one thing that should
comfort and help and strengthen us there is the thing that helped
us in the beginning. Not what we have been, not what we have done,
but the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Christian life
starts with grace, it must continue with grace, it ends with
grace. Grace, wondrous grace. By the grace of God I am what I am.
Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
SWEETER THAN AMNESIA
isn't about having a second chance; grace is having so many
chances that you could use them through all eternity and never
come up empty. It's when you finally realize that the other shoe
isn't going to drop, ever. It's the moment you feel as precious
and handmade as every star, when you feel, finally, at home for
the very first time.
is when you finally stop keeping score and when you realize that
God never was, that his game is a different one entirely. Grace is
when the silence is so complete that you can hear your own
heartbeat, and right within your ribs, God's beating heart, too.
used to think that the ability to turn back time would be the
greatest possible gift, so that I could undo all the things I wish
I hadn't done. But grace is an even better gift, because it allows
me to do more than just erase; it allows me to become more than I
was when I did those things. It's forgiveness without forgetting,
which is much sweeter than amnesia.”
Shauna Niequist, in
her book Bittersweet
STUDIES TRIUMPH OVER NFL FOR EX-COWBOY DUKE PRESTON
who is attending Dallas Theological Seminary, realized he was not
alone while listening to Dr. Tony Evans, the senior pastor at Oak
Cliff Bible Fellowship, speak at weekly Bible study meetings at
Valley Ranch. Evans discussed only now beginning to understand the
Bible after 15 years of college and 30 years of ministry.... Read
this in full at
LEONARDO: AN INTERVIEW WITH NANCY PEARCEY
Matthew Lee Anderson
Pearcey is perhaps the most famous heir of Francis Schaeffer’s
legacy. Her book Total Truth was both a bestseller and
award-winner, which can be a rare combination. I was delighted to
sit down with her to discuss her latest offering, Saving Leonardo
which is just as unique, thoughtful, and important as her last.
The book is Saving Leonardo. Is he in danger?
I wrote the book to be a survival guide to the varieties of
secularism that are undercutting freedom and dignity within our
culture today. The reference to Leonardo functions as a metaphor
for the way the arts and popular culture channel worldviews deeply
into people’s minds and emotions.
substance of the book is an exploration of the two major “brands”
of secularism today. It’s a little like Ford and Chevy. We
often think of secularism as a single phenomenon, but there are
really two strands: modernism and postmodernism.
still reigns in the natural sciences, in fields like biology,
chemistry, physics, where the dominant worldview is scientific
materialism, which treats humans as little more than biochemical
the same time, postmodernism is rampant in literature, theology,
the arts, and similar disciplines. It is just as dehumanizing
because it tends to treat humans as simply the product of social
forces, such as race, gender, and ethnic group. These two streams
have created a pincer movement that is crushing human dignity and
liberty.... Read this in full at
THE "MISSING JEWEL" OF THE CHURCH
Charles R. Swindoll
think about worship. When was the last time you decided to stop
playing “church” and start really worshiping? If the
truth were known, many believers don’t have a clue what
worship is. We wonder, does worship mean I have to hold my hands
up when I sing and pray, like some Christians do? Does worship
mean I need to close my eyes and envision something heavenly, lest
I become distracted by something earthly? Does worship mean I have
feelings that are a little bit ecstatic, maybe bordering on the
exactly is worship? And is it all that rare? In 1961, while he was
speaking to the pastors of the Associated Gospel Churches of
Canada, the late A. W. Tozer said that worship “is the
missing jewel in modern evangelicalism.” I think he was a
prophet ahead of his time.... Read this in full at
you do not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him
on one day a week. There is no such thing known in heaven as
Sunday worship unless it is accompanied by Monday worship and
Tuesday worship and so on.”
A. W. Tozer (1897-1963),
Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, WingSpread Publishers, 2006,
FAITH: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN 'COOL' MEETS CHRIST?
a riddle: A young man walks into a building. From the outside, it
looks like a nondescript, run-down, abandoned warehouse. Inside he
finds mood lighting, music with throbbing bass, and young people
wearing skinny jeans and superfluous scarves. A bar off to the
side offers drinks of some sort, and a frenetically lit stage is
shrouded in fog. Jumbo screens display what appear to be music
videos. Everywhere people text on their iPhones.
young woman with a nose ring and a vaguely Middle Eastern tattoo
comes up andintroduces herself. She makes awkward (but
refreshingly earnest) small talk about her passion for community
gardens and food co-ops. She asks him if he has heard Arcade
Fire's new album, and compliments him on his bushy beard and
lumberjack look. Beards like that are cool, she says. Eventually
she asks him for his contact information.
Is the man in a bar? Or is he in a church? It could go either
way.... Read this in full at
we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering
nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that
Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are
half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and
ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child
who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot
imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are
far too easily pleased."
C.S. Lewis in The Weight of
LETTERS' TAKES STAGE IN NEW YORK: REVIEW AND INTERVIEW
CNN's Kristen Hamill filed this report about a new off-Broadway
production of "The Screwtape Letters," the C.S. Lewis
novel about a two devils who pen letters back and forth about
tormenting and tempting Christians.]
spoke recently with actor Max McLean after taking in a performance
of "The Screwtape Letters," an off-Broadway production
staged by his Fellowship for the Performing Arts.
his character’s slicked-back salt and pepper hair, now
matted with perspiration, McLean tells me that adapting an iconic
piece of work from one of literature's most famous Christian
writers, C.S. Lewis, was a “long process.”
never intended it to be a theatrical adaptation,” says
McLean, who wrote and directed the play with the Fellowship for
the Performing Arts’ artistic director, Jeffrey Fiske. “He
wrote it as a meditation on the banality of evil and how seductive
it is and how corrupting it is.” .... Read and see this in
Merritt tells the story of Robert Eaglen, who was a deacon in his
church in Colchester, England. "He woke up one Sunday morning
in January. The ground was blanketed with a foot of snow. He
started to turn over and go back to sleep, but he thought to
himself, 'I'm one of the deacons in my church. If the deacons
don't go, who will go?' He put on his boots, hat and coat and
walked six miles to church. He was right. Most of the members
did stay home. As a matter of fact, even the pastor didn't show
up. Only 13 people were at church -- 12 members and a 13-year-old
boy he had never seen before.
said, 'Why don't we just sing a little bit and go home. We don't
have a preacher.' But Robert Eaglen said, 'It's foolish for
us to come all this way and not have a worship service.
going to preach?' they asked. Impulsively, Robert said, 'I'll
preach.' He'd never preached in his life. He got up and did not
know what he was going to preach. I'm sure that's happened to some
of us on Sunday nights, as well, but he didn't have a clue what he
was going to be preaching.
his quiet time the day before, he had been reading in Isaiah, so
he turned to Isaiah 45:22, 'Look to me and be saved, all the ends
of the earth.' Later he recalled, 'I preached maybe 12 minutes,
and I must have said 50 times "Look to Jesus."' It was
all he knew to say. 'Look to Jesus.' He got through with saying,
'Look to Jesus' about 50 times. He looked at that little
13-year-old boy and said, 'Young man, if you'll look to Jesus,
you'll be saved.' And they had prayer and left.
boy, years later, wrote these words: 'I did look, and then and
there the cloud on my heart lifted, the darkness rolled away. At
that moment I saw the sun, I accepted Christ into my heart, and I
was born again.' That 13-year-old boy was Charles Haddon
thank God that Robert Eaglen didn't get up that day and preach a
message on 'How to Be Up When the Weather is Down.' Thank God he
didn't get up and say, 'Let me talk to you today about how to glow
in the snow.' Thank God he didn't get up and preach a sermon
called 'Snow White and the Eleven Disciples.' Thank God, he
preached the Word. He shared the gospel with a 13-year-old
boy and gave that boy an opportunity to be saved. We don't need to
follow fads, fashions or flakes. We need to keep the ship of our
ministry anchored to the rock of this Book, believing it, obeying
it, defending it, sharing it and preaching it until Jesus comes.
That's how you confront a postmodern world."
Merritt, Pastor, Cross Pointe Church, The Church at Gwinnett
Center, Duluth, Georgia.)
the one hand there is the persistent memory of the past with its
failures, hurts, shame, and guilt. On the other hand there is the
revelation of the gospel that shows me who I now am in Christ. In
so many of our lives, the voice of condemnation drowns out the
voice of revelation. It is so much easier to focus our eyes on us
than on the Lamb. We become overwhelmed with the memory of our
past rather than fixing our gaze on the robe, the ring, the
sandals, the fatted calf-all symbols of our Father's grace
lavished upon us. We walk down that dark road to find a corner in
the servants' quarters.
journey to the Father's house begins with that first step of
changing your mind about who you perceive yourself to be and who
you truly are. When you do change your mind about who you are, you
will change you mind about where you live, moving out of the cold
and isolated quarters of the servant into the warmth and intimacy
of the Father's house.”
John Sheasby with Ken Gire, from
the book The Birthright
PEOPLE MORE LIKELY TO GIVE, SURVEY FINDS
has a greater impact on a person’s giving than their wealth,
according to the results of a worldwide study on charitable
behavior. The World Giving Index, recently published by the
Charities Aid Foundation, was compiled from Gallup surveys
conducted in 153 countries.
surveys asked people, over 15 years of age, whether they had given
money to charity or volunteered in the last month, and to rank how
happy they were with life on a scale of one to ten. Overall, 20%
of the world’s population had volunteered time in the month
prior to interview, 30% had given money to charity, and 45% had
helped a stranger.... Read and see this in full at
the first decade of the 21st century will come to be known as the
great age of headroom. During those years, new houses had great
rooms with 20-foot ceilings and entire new art forms had to be
invented to fill the acres of empty overhead wall space.
future archeologists dig up the remains of that epoch, they will
likely conclude that sometime around 1996, the US was afflicted by
a plague of claustrophobia and drove itself bankrupt in search of
that economy went poof, and social norms have since changed. The
oversized now looks slightly ridiculous. Values have changed as
well....One of the interesting figures in this recalibration
effort is David Platt.
earned two master’s degrees and a doctorate from the New
Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. At age 26, he was hired to
lead a 4,300-person suburban church in Birmingham, Ala., and
became known as the youngest megachurch leader in America.
grew uneasy with the role he had fallen into and wrote about it in
a recent book called “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From
the American Dream.” It encapsulates many of the themes that
have been floating around 20-something evangelical circles the
past several years.... Read this in full at
PURPOSES FOR OUR WORK
world's view of work is that it is a necessary evil; that our jobs
should make us happy, and that income defines a person's worth.
What was God's original intent in ordaining work? How much has the
world's view of work seeped into your thinking? .... Read this in
DAD TRIED TO KILL ME:' FAITH, FRIENDS HELP IN SURVIVAL
Keith was 12 years old when he learned his family didn't die in a
car wreck. His father suffocated his mother and then shot Chris'
8-year-old brother, Mikey, in the back of the head while he slept,
his grandparents explained.
elderly couple had taken the boy to a counselor. As they told him
the real story of what happened, they pulled out newspaper
clippings from October 1985.
had begun to wonder about the scars on his own head, and he had
pieced together other clues from the past. Yet he'd never known
the full truth. His grandparents then told him the hardest news of
all. Before his father killed himself, he put the .38-caliber
handgun to Chris' head and pulled the trigger. Medics had declared
everyone in the house dead, including Chris.
30, Chris Keith visits church youth groups and juvenile justice
centers to tell his story. A Christian, he believes God had a plan
for him and that's why he survived.... Read this in full at
me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead
me on level ground.”
men fail through ignorance of their strength than fail through
knowledge of their weakness.”
DON'T TROUBLE 'DEAF HEAVEN' WITH PRAYERS FOR ME
less than two weeks before “Everybody Pray for Hitchens
Day,” cancer-stricken Christopher Hitchens is encouraging
believers to hold off on praying for him.
don’t mean to be churlish about any kind intentions, but
when September 20 comes, please do not trouble deaf heaven with
your bootless cries,” the atheist author wrote in a
first-person article for Vanity Fair’s October 2010 issue.
“Unless, of course, it makes you feel better,” he
added, echoing a past comment.
month, in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Hitchens
said he was well aware of the prayer groups that have formed since
he announced late June that he was diagnosed with esophageal
cancer -– the same cancer his father died of.
asked if he told people not to pray for him, the devoted atheist
told Cooper, “No,” but said those who feel better in
doing so “have my blessing.” In an interview days
later with The Atlantic, Hitchens also said, “I take it
(prayer) kindly on the assumption that people are praying for my
about a month after the interviews, Hitchens appears to have
decided to discourage prayer –- particularly on Sept. 20 -–
noting in his Vanity Fair piece that it would present him with
another “secular problem.”
if I pulled through and the pious faction contentedly claimed that
their prayers had been answered? That would somehow be
irritating,” he wrote.
of the New York Times bestseller God Is Not Great: How Religion
Poisons Everything, Hitchens is one of the most prominent figures
in the “new atheism” movement, though the English-born
author describes himself as an anti-theist.... Read this in full
IN DYING 101: WHAT CHRISTIANS CAN TEACH OUR DEATH-DENYING CULTURE
Amy Julia Becker
good death is possible for most people in America, but not because
a good death comes through physician-assisted suicide. A good
death is possible when the resources exist to help patients
express their wishes to caregivers and family members in such a
way that they find healing in relationships, purpose in their
lives even at the end, and hope for the world to come.... Read
this in full at
VOICED OVER RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE
Rev. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership
for the Common Good (http://www.newevangelicalpartnership.org/),
said: “To those who would exercise derision, bigotry, open
rejection of our fellow Americans of a different faith, I say,
shame on you. As an evangelical, I say to those who do this, you
bring dishonor to those who love Jesus Christ.” .... Read
this in full at
you, God, for this water," I said as I shaved this morning.
Funny how living in a desert makes you think about these things.
is a basic human right. People cannot survive without it, and it
is universally recognized that one role of a humane government is
to supply its people with basic necessities, water being one of
the most important.
have learned that the Israelis control 80% of the water in the
West Bank. 20% is left to the Palestinians. Out of the 83%, the
Israelis sell some of the water back to the Palestinians. People
here in Bethlehem have told us that the water supply can be shut
off for days, sometimes weeks.
are smart, adaptable people who find solutions to great problems:
some homes are built with cisterns to collect water when it is
available and also to gather rainwater. Large storage tanks can be
seen on the roofs of most houses.... Read this in full at
Charles M. Blow
all of the consternation about religion in this country, it’s
sometimes easy to lose sight of just how anomalous our religiosity
is in the world.
Gallup report underscored just how out of line we are. Gallup
surveyed people in more than 100 countries in 2009 and found that
religiosity was highly correlated to poverty. Richer countries in
general are less religious.
that doesn’t hold true for the United States. Sixty-five
percent of Americans say that religion is an important part of
their daily lives. That is compared with just 30% of the French,
27% of the British, and 24% of the Japanese.
used Gallup’s data to chart religiosity against gross
domestic product per capita, and to group countries by their size
and dominant religions.... See this graphic chart in full at
THREAT OF PAGAN CHRISTIANITY
year I have begun making the transition from student to teacher by
teaching an introductory course on World Religions at a local
college (while I’m still taking doctoral classes myself).
We’re a couple weeks into our journey, and earlier this week
we talked about indigenous (“pagan”) religions. One
aspect of pagan religions that strikes me is that the
relationships between the adherents and their gods is most often
manipulative. When the gods are happy, the rains come, the crops
grow, people have babies, people stay healthy. When the gods are
unhappy, the land is blighted by drought, famine, barrenness, and
disease. In order to set things right, the people have to make
sacrifices, perform rituals, or repeat incantations to appease the
gods. The system is set up to control the power of the deities.
Christianity is essentially the opposite: the relationship between
God and humans is not based on rites, rituals, and incantations;
it is not a religion of manipulation. Instead, the relationship
between God and God’s people is based on covenant and, first
and foremost, on God’s gracious desire to love us in Christ.
easy to say. But I’m ashamed to say that I catch myself from
time to time beginning to think about my personal relationship
with God in pagan terms.... Read this in full at
COURT RULES UNIVERSITY CANNOT DENY FUNDING TO RELIGIOUS GROUPS
what has been more than a 5-year battle, a federal court in
Chicago ruled the University of Wisconsin should not deny
religious student organizations funding due to worship, prayer or
proselytizing, a suit brought on by the UW student organization
Chancellor John Wiley denied Badger Catholic — then known as
the UW Roman Catholic Foundation - funding granted from the
Student Services Finance Committee in February 2006.
Catholic responded by filing a lawsuit against UW in November
2006, stating UW’s funding denial on the basis of religious
affiliation violated the organization’s First Amendment
suit settled in May 2007, the terms of which included UW funding
Badger Catholic’s budget for the 2007-08 academic year and
considering future budget requests the same as any other student
did not last long, however, with Badger Catholic filing another
suit in September 2007 because UW placed restrictions on and even
denied certain items of the budget, which were meant to fund
religious events and materials, according to the archives.... Read
this in full at
FOR JESUS: THE ENTITY BEHIND C STREET
Peter J. Boyer
midwinter night in 2008, Senator John Ensign, of Nevada, the
chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, was roused
from bed when six men entered his room and ordered him to get up.
Ensign knew the men intimately; a few hours earlier, he had eaten
dinner with them, as he had nearly every Tuesday evening since
he’d come to Washington. Now they were rebuking him for his
recklessness. They told him he was endangering his career, ruining
lives, and offending God.
men leading this intervention considered themselves Ensign’s
closest friends in Washington. Four of those who confronted Ensign
-- Senator Tom Coburn and Representatives Bart Stupak, Mike Doyle,
and Zach Wamp -- lived with him in an 18th-century brick row house
on C Street, in southeast Washington, a short walk from the
Capitol. The men regarded themselves in part as an accountability
group. Despite their political differences -- Coburn and Wamp are
Republicans, Stupak and Doyle are Democrats -- they had pledged to
hold one another to a life lived by the principles of Jesus, and
they considered the Tuesday supper gatherings at C Street an
inviolable ritual.... Read this in full at
GOD IS NO
LONGER MALE, SAYS SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Daily Mail reports that the Scottish Episcopal Church has caused
controversy by removing masculine references to God in a new order
of service. The new liturgy and worship forms with more
"inclusive" language are an attempt to acknowledge that
God is "beyond human gender." Not every church, however,
will be using the new form -- only those who have difficulty with
a male God. To that end, words such as 'Lord, he, his, him' have
been removed; 'mankind' has been replaced with "world"
in most instances. Traditionalists have criticized the changes on
the grounds that they smack of political correctness and because
they believe they are not consistent with the teachings of the
Bible. The church's Liturgy Committee produced the new form in
consultation with the Faith & Order Board of General Synod and
the College of Bishops.... Read this in full at
FILM "WESLEY" AVAILABLE FOR CHURCH SCREENINGS
Pictures has just announced the availability of a special license
for local churches to screen the award-winning independent film
for their congregations. The movie, which premiered in 2009, was
exhibited at select theaters across the US and at several
international film festivals. The home DVD was released in July
from Vision Video, www.visionvideo.com.
film stars Burgess Jenkins (Remember the Titans, The Reaping) as
John Wesley, Emmy-nominated TV legend June Lockhart (Lost in
Space, Lassie) as his mother, Susannah Wesley, Golden Globe winner
Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Death of a
Salesman) as Bishop Ryder, and R. Keith Harris (Big Fish, Junebug)
as John's brother Charles Wesley.
movie documents the personal struggles of John Wesley, whose work
and ministry would transform the face of England in the 18th
century. For the first time, Wesley's fascinating spiritual
struggle is presented in this dramatic feature film based on
John's own private journals. These journals, kept in a secret
code, were not translated until the early 1980s; earlier books and
one 1950s feature film were based only on the public record, and
did not have access to the private thoughts, doubts, and struggles
of this great spiritual leader.... Read this in full at
makes the Dead Sea dead? Because it is all the time receiving, but
never giving out anything. Why is it that many Christians are
cold? Because they are all the time receiving, never giving out.”
Dwight L. Moody
we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from
everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness
out of reverence for God."
2 Corinthians 7:1
WEEK'S HYMN: WE LIFT OUR HEARTS TO THEE
John Wesley, 1741
lift our hearts to Thee,
Day Star from on high!
sun itself is but Thy shade,
cheers both earth and sky.
let Thine orient beams
night of sin disperse,
mists of error and of vice
shade the universe.
beauteous nature now:
dark and sad before!
joy we view the pleasing change,
nature’s God adore.
may no gloomy crime
the rising day;
Jesus’ blood, like evening dew,
all the stains away.
we this life improve,
mourn for errors past;
live this short, revolving day
if it were our last.
God—the Father, Son,
Spirit—One in Three,
glory; as it was, is now,
shall forever be.
Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep
discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my
eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'”
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
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.
[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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is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
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
welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!
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.
Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, email@example.com
if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
our website at: http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/
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