man to man to God
week of September 19, 2010
weekly 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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are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the
ruler of God’s creation. ‘Here I am! I stand at the
door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I
will come in and eat with him, and he with me."
3:14 and 20
we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to
what we want to get out of life, that we give to the question of
what to do with two weeks' vacation, we would be startled at our
false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days.”
Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879-1958)
JESUS SAID -- BUT SOME CHRISTIANS STILL DO
love, wrote the Apostle John, casts out fear. For Christians, that
simple maxim would seem to be an easy formula for stress-free
living. But 2,000 years after those words were written, many
disciples of Christ still find their lives dominated by fear --
and worse, many Christian leaders believe, their response to it
often is indistinguishable from that of the society in which they
shocks me ... is that many Christians have bought into fear as a
thoughtful reaction to terrorism, to immigration, to heath care
and to many other important issues,” Drew Smith, an ordained
Baptist minister who is director of international programs at
Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark., recently blogged.
Shiell, pastor of First Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn.,
observed many Christians “are informed primarily by
forwarded e-mails and relentlessly repetitive information, rather
than the good news of Christ.”
phrase ‘do not be afraid’ is used 365 times in the
Bible for a reason,” said Shiell. “The faithful are
often the most susceptible to fear.” .... Read this in full
DISCIPLINE IS HIS MERCY
we will see, [God's] discipline is his mercy... [W]e understand
that the manna revolt and the discipline do not occur at the
beginning of the Israelites' journey. They have been rescued from
a pursuing army at the Red Sea and rescued from their thirst and
hunger with God's provision in the desert...
are now nearing the gateway to the land promised to their
forefathers. They are no longer at the beginning of their journey,
yet they are still behaving like beginners. They seem no closer to
actually trusting their God than at the beginning of the
wilderness experience. Their repeated refrain remains, "We
don't trust you."
is a critical point. The Israelites do not seem to have changed
over the course of two years in the wilderness... the
dissonant tune repeats itself over and over: ‘Hardship
intended to build trust results instead in contemptuous
complaint.’ The harsh discipline of the quail plague is not
severity for its own sake -- it is intended to dislodge the
Israelites from the rut of their lethal, faith-destroying groove.
As is true in our lives, here with the Israelites, God is at work
Jeff Manion, in his book The Land Between
MOCKINGBIRD PARABLES: CHRISTIAN LESSONS IN HARPER LEE'S CLASSIC
social relevance of Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a
Mockingbird and the subsequent film is profound. It has remained a
beacon of hope for the marginalized, pointing the way toward our
continued pursuit for equality.
novel has been described simply as the story of one man’s
stand for racial justice, but we cannot ignore the other valuable
messages–including Christian ones-for today’s
culture of distrust.
Wall Street to Washington to Main Street, it seems our decisions
are governed by what is financially, politically, and socially
expedient. Oour faith is more of an afterthought than a guiding
force. The many lessons of Lee’s novel can lead us back to a
restorative way of making choices by following these four
principles:.... Read this in full at
SYNAGOGUES, CHURCHES COLLECT SIMILAR DONATION AMOUNTS DIFFERENTLY
survey conducted by the Forward has found that Jewish and
Christian religious institutions appear to raise about the same
amount per member, despite the fact that church giving is
voluntary and synagogues charge membership dues.... Read this in
GOD IN A WATERING HOLE
is brimming with signs of spirituality: bands of Hasidic mamas
pushing strollers over the bridge, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans
rocking flashy crucifixes, yoga-mat toting ladies on their way to
Sunday meditation class. But for the young and hip, Christianity
closely though and you’ll find a couple enclaves of
culturally conscious Christianity right in the hood. Late on
Sunday afternoons—about the time when hipsters try to shake
off the sins of the night before—both Pete’s Candy
Store and Trash Bar play host to services for those put off by the
institutional aspects of the Church. For a twenty-something who
grew out of Christianity in junior high, church hasn’t been
a part of my world for a long time. But on a couple of Sundays
this summer, I experienced a bit of a revelation.
a hot Sunday afternoon in front of Trash Bar, the North Brooklyn
Vineyard, a branch of the international organization of
evangelical Vineyard churches, is handing out fliers and free hot
dogs. A few people stray in. It’s August, so things are
quieter. After grabbing PBRs, folks head to the back room and
arrange themselves on old van bench seats around the stage. Amber
Wigfield starts things off with a string of Christian ballads. The
congregation sings along, some with eyes closed and hands
uplifted. Then Pastor Mike, wearing cargo pants and an easy smile,
jumps up onstage to talk about Abraham in his thick endearing
Bronx accent.... Read this in full at
GOD AND FOOTBALL
I began writing my book on God and football, the aptly titled "God
and Football," the first words I put down were these:“I
was immersed in the waters of Southeastern Conference football
twelve months before I was submerged into those of believers’
baptism.” I go on to say this is not a unique testimony, at
least not down south where our God and our pastime scrimmage daily
for our hearts and minds.
suppose the two have been going at it since Auburn and Georgia
first began tackling each other in 1892, but if I’m honest,
I didn’t take notice until 2008. You see I’m an Auburn
fan, and Auburn fans don’t like to talk about 2008. It was
our Book of Job. Okay, that may be a stretch. Satan didn’t
cover any of us with boils. But we did lose a lot of football
games, and for many that’s reason enough to shave your head
and sit in ashes.
certainly did my fair share of pouting, even hid a few of my more
vocal Crimson Tide friends on Facebook, but later in the
off-season I did something I’d never done before: I took a
serious look at how my fanaticism was hindering my faith.
I asked whether or not I should even care about football. I know
many people who say God doesn’t care about sports, He has
more important things going on. My view of God is a little bigger
than that. I think God can hear prayers about Sudan and Mark
Ingram’s knee at the same time. But I think it’s
obvious some things are more important than others, and on the
list of things that should grieve our spirit, missed field goals
are pretty far down the list.... Read this in full at
MONTHLY POLL TO TAKE AMERICA'S PULSE ON RELIGION IN THE NEWS
new monthly poll on issues pulled from the headlines has started
with a partnership between Public Religion Research Institute and
Religion News Service. The PRRI/RNS Religion News Poll will survey
Americans on a different religion topic each month, taking a
snapshot of opinions on issues of the day.
of the biggest stories in recent weeks -- the so-called Ground
Zero mosque, threats to burn Qurans, whether or not President
Obama is a Muslim -- remind us that religion plays a huge role in
national and international affairs. This poll will help us probe
the feelings behind the stories that animate life in America and
around the world," says Kevin Eckstrom, Editor of Religion
News Service.... Read this in full at
are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good
works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
I say, "Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget," as though
God, who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all
the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know
nothing of Calvary love.”
Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If
, London: SPCK, 1961, p. 40
CONSTITUTES AN ACCURATE TRANSLATION?
had a fascinating experience this summer. I spent my first three
weeks on the NIV translation committee, the CBT. We were locked
away in Whistler, Canada, discussing, agreeing, and sometimes
disagreeing on the nuances of the meaning of words and the meaning
of biblical passages. It doesn't get any better than that! Well,
perhaps a week in Switzerland would be better.
was a really good time. Some of the committee members I had only
known from a distance. Some I had known through my dad since his
Bethel days. One I lived with in graduate school (Craig Blomberg).
And others were brand new friends.
was most educational was to see how dynamic translation works,
first hand. From my years on the ESV I had gained an appreciation
for formal equivalent translation, but to actually be part of a
dynamic translation (okay, "functional equivalence") was
a great teacher. I watched godly men and women struggle, sometimes
agonize, over just the right wording so the NIV would faithfully
convey the same meaning as intended by the biblical author.
Whoever says dynamic translators have a lower view of Scripture
needs to sit behind the veil and watch this group work.
this brings me to the topic today: what constitutes an "accurate"
translation? .... Read this in full at
TO RELEASE THE C. S. LEWIS BIBLE
October HarperOne is releasing The C.S. Lewis Bible, the first
Bible that pairs Lewis's own spiritual writings with corresponding
Bible passages. It offers one of the most revered Christian
thinkers as a companion to a reader's reflection, meditation, and
study of Scripture.
pairing Lewis's writing with scripture, this Bible offers readers
the opportunity to gain fresh insight into Lewis's writings, his
own spiritual journey, and to the Scriptures themselves,"
says publisher Mark Tauber.
Bible includes key features such as:
Over 600 selections from C. S. Lewis for contemplation and
Introductory essays on C. S. Lewis's view of scripture
Indexes to guide you to each reading from C. S. Lewis
Attractive two-color interior (brown/black)
Double-column format, in a readable, classic design
Presentation page for gift-giving.... Read this in full at
FOR ANDROID APP RELEASED
users, the wait is over. The free Bible.is app is now available in
the Android Market for Android OS 1.6 and higher. You can read,
listen to and share the Bible with friends and family through the
Bible.is (www.Bible.is) Android app, developed by Faith Comes By
Hearing (FCBH), a non-profit organization that distributes audio
to a news release from FCBH, the Bible.is for Android app's major
features include the ability to listen and read the Bible at the
same time, dramatized audio with 180 characters, music and sound
effects as well as 55 different languages with more to come. In
addition, there's easy verse sharing on Facebook and six Bible
listening programs for those who prefer a more organized approach
to Bible reading.
Android app joins a suite of other apps now available from
Bible.is, allowing millions more around the world to experience
the Bible in a whole new way," said Troy Carl, Faith Comes By
Hearing's national director.... Read this in full at
ON THE SISTINE CEILING
biblical interpretation grow more difficult with the passing of
time? A blogger compares hermeneutics to art criticism.... Read
this in full at
KENNETH STARR ON BAYLOR'S CHALLENGES, BAPTIST RELATIONS
University inaugurated Kenneth Starr as its 14th president Sept.
17. As Starr officially takes the helm of the world's largest
Baptist institution of higher learning, the school faces a host of
opportunities and challenges.
he arrived on the school's Waco, Texas, campus June 1, Starr was
dean of the law school at Pepperdine University in California.
Previously, he had been an attorney, federal circuit court judge,
United States solicitor general, and independent counsel for
investigations during the Clinton administration.
native Texan, he was raised in the Churches of Christ and was a
longtime adult member of McLean Bible Church, a non-denominational
evangelical congregation in Washington's Virginia suburbs. When he
moved to Waco, he joined Columbus Avenue Baptist Church.
to his inauguration, Starr visited with Texas Baptist Standard
Editor Marv Knox about Baylor, his administration, and the future
of the world's largest Baptist institution of higher learning....
Read this in full at
CHURCHES LIST RELEASED AMID SOME CRITICISM
annual Outreach 100 list of the largest and fastest-growing
churches in America is out but absent from the list is a number of
megachurches that were documented in previous years. The report is
not a comprehensive list. Data is based on a self-reported survey
and not an independent investigation. This year, however, several
churches that once participated chose to opt out of the survey.
a research perspective, this nonparticipation is sad. But
theologically speaking, the reasons many churches choose to not
broadcast their numbers are quite noble," said Kent Shaffer
on ChurchRelevance.com, which exists to help churches become more
effective and efficient. "Many nonparticipating churches just
don’t want to negatively affect other churches. And, of
course others just forget to report their numbers to the
recent years, the Outreach 100 list has drawn criticism for, among
other things, feeding the ego of large church pastors and not
recognizing some of the smaller healthy churches that are growing.
Churches with a weekend attendance of 1,000 or more make up only
about 2% of America's 300,000 Protestant churches. And
megachurches (with 2,000 or more attendees) comprise less than
half a percent..... Read this in full at
CHURCH NAMED NATION'S FASTEST-GROWING
News Service reports that a megachurch in Lawrenceville, Ga.,
was named the fastest-growing Protestant church in America in
Outreach magazine's annual ranking. Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church
in Houston remains the nation's largest church. In the past year,
12Stone Church in suburban Atlanta increased its attendance by 30%
and gained 2,226 attendees, boosting total attendance to 9,636.
The magazine's list of the fastest-growing churches was determined
using both percentage growth and numerical gain. 12Stone changed
its name from Crossroads Church in 2007 and is known for its
unusual community outreach, especially at Christmastime. Last
year, 12Stone donated gifts to single mothers for their children,
along with $50 to give to another single mom. In 2007, the church
gave a car to a college student and a minivan to a family with a
special needs child..... Read this in full at
RESPONSE TO 2ND NATIONAL ‘BACK TO CHURCH SUNDAY'
attendance increased at more than 3,800 churches during the second
national "Back to Church Sunday," held Sept. 12.
Participating churches reported an average increase of 26% in
weekly attendance. In addition, the overwhelming majority of the
visitors said they were favorably impressed with the churches they
to a post-event survey conducted by Outreach Inc., a Southern
California-based church marketing company endorsing the
initiative, church members invited more than 1.4 million friends,
neighbors, co-workers, and family members to special services
geared toward those who once attended church, but for a variety of
reasons, no longer attended.
broke all our previous attendance records for first-time
visitors," said Will Kahkonen, lead pastor of Victory
Christian Church in Livermore, Maine. "There were multiple
commitments and renewals, and several others who requested more
information about the church.... Read this in full at
TARSUS AND THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY
of Tarsus is the most important figure in early Christianity. His
conversion to Christianity opened doors for the religion. Paul's
connections, political skills, and Roman citizenship provided
opportunities other Christian leaders lacked. Paul's work
made Christianity accessible for the masses and extended its reach
beyond the Holy Land.
was a Roman citizen and Jewish. His citizenship provided
privileges and immunities closed to many early
Christians. Additionally, he was educated and wealthy which
brought political connections that the Apostles lacked. Paul
was particularly popular amongst Jewish leaders. Originally, Paul
persecuted Christians as blasphemers. He believed the
Christians perverted Judaism by claiming Christ's divinity.
after Christ's crucifixion, he converted. According to tradition,
Jesus visited Paul on the road to Damascus. In the vision, Christ
asked Paul "why do you persecute me?" The vision
temporarily blinded Paul and led to his conversion. Some modern
scholars speculate that Paul of Tarsus suffered a seizure which
led to hallucinations. He eventually regained his sight and
converted.... Read this in full at
CAN DO FOR AN AGING POPULATION
of people in the United States are living in what we may call the
“old age” of life. More than ever are in that
category. Aging is relative. To the youngest child, any age is old
the result of illness, accidents, disease, and other debilitating
factors, age cannot be defined for everybody with a few words.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, great Chief Justice of the United States
Supreme Court, said” “To be 70 years young is
sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old.”
about older people who are a part of your life –- parent,
grandparent, uncle, aunt, neighbor, friend. They all have some of
these special needs I mention or some variation of them.
Once young, strong and active, they walk slower than they once
did. It is hard to walk faster no matter how much others complain
and urge them to hurry.... Read this in full at
TO DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME FRUSTRATES ISRAELIS
Israeli government’s decision to end daylight saving time
more than a month early in order to ease the upcoming Yom Kippur
fast has set off an angry debate on religion-state issues.
back to standard time on the Sunday before Yom Kippur has been
enshrined in Israeli law for several years, but the
earlier-than-normal September start to the High Holy days -- when
Israelis are still enjoying summer-like weather -- highlighted the
Israeli changed kicked in Sept. 12; the US won’t switch
until Sunday, Nov. 7.
Israel always ends daylight savings time earlier than most
European countries, this year’s gap of nearly seven weeks
set off an on-line protest petition that attracted 230,000
signatures.... Read this in full at
PASTOR MAX LUCADO REACHES 100 MILLION PRODUCTS IN PRINT
and Pastor Max Lucado has 100 million products in print since his
first book was published 25 years ago. Lucado's writings have been
published in a wide variety of formats including trade books, gift
books, children's books, study Bibles, devotionals, commentaries,
animated children's videos, calendars, greeting cards, teaching
curriculum and licensed gift products.
the 100 million products in print, 80 million are books. Lucado's
first book, On the Anvil, was released in 1985. His latest book,
Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference, released in
September Thomas Nelson. Currently his books have been translated
into more than 40 languages.
books have appeared on every major best-seller list including
Publishers Weekly, USA Today, The New York Times, the Evangelical
Christian Publishers Association and the Christian Booksellers
Association. Lucado has been featured on many national media
programs through the years, including "Fox & Friends,"
"The Today Show" and "Good Morning America" in
the last year alone.... Read this in full at
HOUSE TAKES ON PRAYER GROUP
has filed a lawsuit against a church group called the
International House of Prayer claiming that the group is illegally
using the pancake house's famous acronym. The legal flap started
in September when the International House of Pancakes filed the
lawsuit in a federal court in California. The Kansas City,
Missouri-based church group "selected and adopted the
International House of Prayer name, knowing it would be
abbreviated IHOP. IHOP-KC intended to misappropriate the fame and
notoriety of the household name IHOP to help promote and make
recognizable their religious organization," the lawsuit says.
Lawyers from the pancake restaurant say the odds are stacked
against the church group and provided the court with pages and
pages of documentation of websites, newsletters and signs on
buildings where the prayer group allegedly used the IHOP
acronym.... Read this in full at
OF DONE MANIFESTO
There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and
Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
There is no editing stage.
Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as
knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what
you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an
idea done, abandon it.
The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things
Once you’re done you can throw it away.
Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being
People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you
Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
Destruction is a variant of done.
If you have an idea and publish it on the Internet, that counts as
a ghost of done.
Done is the engine of more.
PLAYS KEY ROLE FOR TRAPPED CHILEAN MINERS, FAMILIES
the Rev. Juan Carlos Sansadral, there is only one word to describe
the survival of 33 Chilean miners in a collapsed mine: “miracle.”
or not their salvation will ever officially be classified as an
act of God remains to be seen, but the Catholic priest who
oversees a parish in the area and has counseled many of the
miners’ families stands firm. “It was truly a
miracle,” he said.
a recent Mass on the Sunday that miners' families commemorated 30
days passing since the August 5 mine collapse, Sansadral told his
parishioners, “May God continue to give us the strength that
he has so far.” Behind the Father is a statue of San
Lorenzo, the patron aaint of miners, easily recognizable for his
miner’s helmet and for whom the ongoing rescue effort is
has provided support to the miners' families in this predominantly
Catholic country. “Camp Hope,” where many of them are
living during the rescue effort, is dotted with makeshift shrines
with pictures of Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI, and a collection of
saints.... Read this in full at
OFFERS NEW PhD IN THEOLOGY & PEACE STUDIES
University of Notre Dame now offers a Ph.D. in theology and peace
studies. The new program, a partnership between Notre Dame's
Department of Theology and the Kroc Institute for International
Peace Studies, will educate and train scholars in both theology
and interdisciplinary peace research. Applications are now being
accepted for students seeking to begin in fall 2011.... Read this
in full at
you souls who wish to go on with so much safety and consolation,
if you knew how pleasing to God is suffering, and how much it
helps in acquiring other good things, you would never seek
consolation in anything; but you would rather look upon it as a
great happiness to bear the Cross of the Lord.”
of the Cross (1542-1591), The Complete Works of Saint John of the
Cross, v. III, Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1935, p. 154
is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
WEEK'S HYMN: PEACE, PERFECT PEACE
Edward H. Bickersteth, Jr., 1875
George T. Caldbeck & Charles J. Vincent, 1876
perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
blood of Jesus whispers peace within.
perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
do the will of Jesus, this is rest.
perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.
perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
Jesus’ keeping we are safe, and they.
perfect peace, our future all unknown?
we know, and He is on the throne.
perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
has vanquished death and all its powers.
is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
Jesus call us to Heaven’s perfect peace.
perfect peace, ’mid suffering’s sharpest throes?
sympathy of Jesus breathes repose.
not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to
your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but
you yourself shall be the miracle.”
(1835-1893), Twenty Sermons, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1887, p. 330
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.
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Frank Coleman, Editor
for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!
CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of
announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other
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