Connecting man to man to God
For week of October 10, 2010
Issue 325

The weekly 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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Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation.”
Habakkuk 3:17-18

A man does not call a line crooked, unless he has some idea of a straight line”
C.S. Lewis

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month --
by Victor M. Parachin
Sadly, a US Department of Justice study indicates that approximately 1 million violent crimes are committed by former spouses, boyfriends, or girlfriends each year with 85% of the victims being women. For domestic violence to be defeated, it must begin with information. Here are 11 myths and facts about domestic violence.... Read this in full at

The church can and must play a vital leadership role in dealing with domestic violence. Scripture calls on people of faith to be responsive with both compassion and comfort: “Comfort, comfort my people says your God” (Isa. 40:1); “Encourage one another and build each other up” (1Thes. 5:11). Here are 8 ways churches can help:
1. Affirm publicly, via preaching and teaching, the dignity and worth of every human being and speak out against all forms of domestic abuse.
2. Educate the congregation routinely by including information via the church newsletter and website and by providing workshops on domestic violence issues. Periodically, have an adult Sunday school class study the topic for a semester.
3. Be a resource for church and community. Do your own biblical and theological homework so that you, as a community leader, can speak authoritatively on the subject.
4. Partner with the community. Include a line item in the church budge to provide generous financial support to a domestic violence organization in the community. Consider adopting a local shelter to which your congregation will provide material support to the families it protects.
5. Lead by example. Volunteer to serve on the board of a local shelter or offer yourself as a resource to the families in the shelter. Consider taking additional training to become a crisis or hotline volunteer.
6. Offer space. Open your doors, without a fee, to host a support group or serve as a supervised visitation site when parents need a place to safely visit children.
7. Intervene. If you suspect violence within a relationship, ask questions of those involved. Help the abused to plan for safety. Hold the abuser accountable.
8. Strengthen family life through education and enrichment programs which teach and empower people to relate with one another in healthy, functional ways.

Also see the website Peace and Safety in the Christian Home

by Joseph Stowell
He is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18

An estimated 40 million Americans view Internet p*rnography on a regular basis. The average age of exposure is 11. What’s worse yet is that 47% of Christians polled said that p*rnography on the Web was a major problem in their home.

In light of these alarming statistics, I wasn’t really surprised when I received a letter from a man who had given in to the lure of Internet p*rn. Broken and ashamed, he was desperate to climb out of the shame and sludge that Satan had lured him into. He told me that he finally decided to tape a picture of Jesus in the corner of his computer screen. With a sense of relief, he told me that seeing Jesus made his choices clear, and that he couldn’t go where he had gone before as long as Jesus was in clear view in the corner of the screen.... Read this in full at

When Randall Wallace first met Mel Gibson, he was pitching a script for a movie about a 14th century Scottish hero most of us had never heard of: William Wallace. (And no, Randall isn't related to him.)

Gibson listened as Wallace became more and more animated, till he was pounding on the table and saying things like, "If you are faithful to your heart, even if they cut it out of you, you prevail" and "If you don't want to make that story, you should go somewhere else." Gibson wanted to make that story, and the rest is Braveheart history.

It was a long way from Durham, North Carolina, and Duke Divinity School, where, more than 20 years before, Wallace was studying theology and considering becoming a pastor -- till his own minister urged him to consider his true calling. That ultimately turned out to be Hollywood and making movies -- first as a writer and later as a director.

Wallace was nominated for an Oscar (and won the Writers Guild of America award) for his Braveheart screenplay in 1995. He went on to write scripts for The Man in the Iron Mask, Pearl Harbor, and We Were Soldiers, the last of which he also directed -- and which starred Mel Gibson in the lead role.... Read this in full at

Scheduled for Oct. 27

by Michael Foust
I don't know how many conservatives in the US regularly watch PBS historical documentaries, but I am one of them. So when I learned the network would be airing a six-hour documentary Oct. 11-13 titled "God in America," I was hooked.

A joint venture between the PBS programs "American Experience" and "Frontline," the three-night series follows the history of religion in America, from the 1600s to the present day.

Of course, watching a PBS documentary on such a subject can be a chore, because half your brain is trying to enjoy the program while the other half is taking mental notes and constantly wondering: Is that true? That's partially because God in America, like most television documentaries on religion, is lacking in orthodox, evangelical representation. (If I hear something that doesn't sound right, I'll just research it.)

Yet after previewing all six hours I came to a surprising conclusion. "God in America" -- while it has its flaws, a few of them major -- is worth watching. It's far from being a church production, but it has plenty of strengths and just might spark some Christians into learning more about the history of their faith.... Read this in full at

See also: “Miniseries traces religion's USA impact across 400 years”

by Wilfred M. McClay
After a seemingly endless procession of tendentious and hotly argued books espousing "the new atheism" and blaming religion for all that is wrong with the world, "American Grace" comes as a welcome balm, offering a reasoned discussion of religion and public life. Rather than wrangle over matters of theology and science, Robert Putnam and David Campbell focus on extensive survey data to explore the kinds of conduct and attitudes that religious beliefs produce in individuals and groups. The authors ask to be regarded as neutral observers, not partisans. And their criteria for the success or failure of religion are almost entirely sociological and behavioral: By their fruits ye shall know them.

This approach will of course not appeal to everyone. But the result is a book that takes a mostly positive view of American religion, capturing its energy and variety. Chapters of historical or sociological interpretation alternate with "vignettes," artfully done portraits of particular church communities; the vignettes attempt to flesh out the other chapters' more abstract points. In the process, some important elements in the conventional wisdom receive a rude jolt.... Read this in full at

Discounted criminal-background checks offered by LifeWay Christian Resources found more than 600 felony offenses in checks for the 900-plus churches and organizations that have purchased the service in its first two years.... Read this in full at

by Roger E. Olson
For some years now I’ve been wrestling with the concept of purgatory and wondering whether evangelical Christians should adopt some version of it. C. S. Lewis held to a version of purgatory while rejecting the classical Roman Catholic view.

Sidebar: Once again, as I write, I am aware that some critics out there may rip what I say out of context (because they have in the past) and publicly accuse me of adopting a Roman Catholic doctrine. I can see the (admittedly small) headline in some state Baptist newspaper now: “Baptist seminary professor Roger Olson headed toward Rome!” Some of you far removed from the “Baptist wars” of the last 25 years (mainly in the South) may think this is paranoia, but you think wrongly. One influential critic invented a quote (about open theism) and attributed it to me and disseminated it to Baptist state newspapers across the South. So, if you are one of “those” please be fair (if you’re capable of it) and explain that my hypothesis of purgatory is just that -- a hypothesis for discussion (technically called a theologoumenon) and very different from the Roman Catholic doctrine.

What stimulated this thought process was my intensive study of Christian leaders and theologians of the past in preparation to write The Story of Christian Theology. During that research I discovered things I had never heard or read about great evangelical “heroes” of the past such as Augustine, Luther, Zwingli and Calvin.

In a wonderful little book entitled My Conversation with Martin Luther the late Lutheran theologian Timothy Lull described his imaginary dialogues with Luther in which he discovered that the German reformer had to take classes in paradise about Judaism to correct his anti-semitism.... Read this in full at

by C Michael Patton
Roger Olson is my favorite Evangelical Arminians. He has a unique ability to be an anchor of doctrinal stability and a provocative juggernaut of theological inquiry that causes us to scratch our heads and, many times, reshape our paradigms. I have used his The Mosaic of Christian Belief in The Theology Program for over six years and I don’t plan on changing it any time soon. He has been on Converse with Scholars (twice I think). He is a great and well respected Evangelical author and professor. All of this to say, I have much admiration and appreciation for Roger Olson…he keeps us on our toes.

Having said this, his recent blog post about Protestant Purgatory makes me wonder what is going on.

Don’t take the title of this post seriously. It comes from Roger himself when he says, “Once again, as I write, I am aware that some critics out there may rip what I say out of context (because they have in the past) and publicly accuse me of adopting a Roman Catholic doctrine.  I can see the (admittedly small) headline in some state Baptist newspaper now: “Baptist seminary professor Roger Olson headed toward Rome!” Well, this is not a Baptist newspaper, but it’ll do.

While I am a fan of Roger Olson, I am a contemplative critic of his thesis here. I don’t really know where it has come from. The very idea of Purgatory goes against everything that the Reformation was about. Let me back up. In essence, this is what I am hearing Olson say: “There are some Christians who have done some really, really bad things and had some really, really bad attitudes. Therefore, I am considering that these Christians have to enter into an educational corrective half-way house before entering Heaven. Let’s call this a ‘Protestant Purgatory’.” .... Read this in full at

The Great Depression hit Mr. J.C. Penney particularly hard, endangering his very health. Anxious and desperate because of huge financial losses, he felt he had nothing to live for. Even his family and friends shunned him. In the hospital one night, he grew so demoralized he expected to die before morning; but he heard singing coming from the little hospital chapel. The words of the song said, "Be not dismayed whate'er betide; God will take care of you."

Entering the chapel, Penney listened to the song and to the Scripture reading and prayer. He later wrote, "Suddenly - something happened. I can't explain it. I can only call it a miracle. I felt as if I had been instantly lifted out of the darkness of a dungeon into warm, brilliant sunlight." From that day, J.C. Penney was never plagued with worry, and he later called those moments in the chapel "the most dramatic and glorious twenty minutes of my life." When he died at age 95, he left behind 1,660 department stores in his name.
Source: Turning Point Daily Devotional, 10/1/03

Most young people consider Christianity irrelevant to their lives but they are not as hostile towards religion as their parents’ generation, researchers in the Church of England have found.

The researchers surveyed 300 young people from Generation Y -– those born after 1982 -– who had attended a Christian youth or community project. The 5-year study looked at their faith in relation to Christianity and the impact of Christian youth and community work on their faith development.

It found that young people were more likely to put their faith in friends, their family, or themselves than in God.

Sylvia Collins-Mayo, a sociologist of religion and one of the researchers behind the study, said: “For the majority, religion and spirituality was irrelevant for day-to-day living; our young people were not looking for answers to ultimate questions and showed little sign of ‘pick and mix’ spirituality.”

She said that young people only sought a religious perspective on “rare occasions” and that when they did, they often "made do" with a “very faded, inherited cultural memory of Christianity in the absence of anything else.”

This tended to be in times of difficulty, for example, after suffering a bereavement or illness in the family.... Read this in full at

In a research presentation for the Family Research Council, Dr. William Jeynes, a Professor at California State University in Long Beach and a Non-resident Scholar at Baylor University, shared the long awaited results of his meta-analyses that summarizes the relationship between faith & family values and academic and behavioral outcomes for youth. Jeynes' speech was based on the findings of his research, which examines a research synthesis of all the available studies on the influence of personal religious faith and family factors on children. This research synthesis, commonly called a meta-analysis, involves statistically synthesizing all the research that has been done on a given topic.

There were several of Jeynes' findings that were most salient. First, personal religious faith among youth had a dramatic relationship with children's academic outcomes and what are commonly referred to as at-risk behaviors, including consuming various types of illegal drugs and unhealthy amounts of alcohol and becoming involved in a single parent teenage pregnancy. Jeynes noted that, "Faith has a particularly ameliorative impact on academic and behavioral outcomes for children of color and those from single parent family structures. That is, faith plays an important role in helping youth overcome other disadvantages. American society should therefore encourage and not discourage these children from drawing strength from their religious faith." Second, youth that come from family structures outside of the two biological parent intact family, on average, face academic, psychological, and behavioral disadvantages across virtually every measure. American society should therefore take more definitive actions to support the two biological parent intact family. Third, religious schools particularly benefit children of color and those of low socioeconomic status. Jeynes asserts that, "Faith and family are two of the foremost pillars sustaining the most healthy parts of society. Yet we live in a society that frequently disparages Christians, in particular, and the value and unique nature of the two-parent family. The question we need to ask is whether we are undermining the institutions that are largely responsible for the strength, health, and compassion that made this country great." .... Read this in full at

Chad Gibbs has been on a pigskin pilgrimage throughout the South, searching for spiritual truth in Tuscaloosa, Baton Rouge, Gainesville, and Fayetteville.

He grew up a fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide and switched allegiance to his alma mater -- and the University of Alabama's archrival -- Auburn University. For a while, Gibbs became so fanatical that he wondered if football had replaced God as his god.

"I wondered about how much I could care about football before it starts to hinder my faith," said Gibbs, a 2002 Auburn graduate who lives less than a mile from the school's famed Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Gibbs set out to find how other Christian football fans handled their dual obsessions. For 12 weeks he attended football games involving every Southeastern Conference (SEC) football team.

That quest resulted in Gibbs' new book, "God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC," which tracks college football's near-religious following in the heart of the Bible Belt, where fans worship their SEC teams on Saturdays and God on Sundays.... Read this in full at

If Jesus' purpose in coming to earth was to minister as the Messiah and ultimately lay down his life so that mankind might be saved, why did he waste so much time in what religion would see as the mind-set of the servant-task oriented, frivolous, worldly pursuit of working in the carpenter shop in his hometown of Nazareth? How many souls died without hearing his life-saving words during those wasted years where he didn't preach one sermon, didn't perform one miracle, didn't make one disciple, didn't save a single soul?

All the questions puzzled me, and I wondered, Could there be any higher motivation in Jesus' life than to seek and to save the lost? The answer came clearly in my study of John 5, beginning with verse 19. When Jesus was criticized for healing on the Sabbath, he told his critics that he did only what he saw the Father doing. As a son, his greatest delight was to do his Father's will... During what seemed like wasted years of inactivity, Jesus was totally in the Father's will. For him to have attempted ministry before the Father's time would have been the real waste.

Martha's frantic activity to prepare the meal for Jesus was a waste. Jesus said that only one thing was needed and Mary had chosen what was essential. The older brother's life of diligent work and scrupulous obedience was a waste. There were well cared for servants who could have done the work while the son enjoyed being with his father, only doing what his father asked him to do instead of spending his life doing what he thought his father wanted. How much time and money are wasted in so many churches doing so many good things with so few ever stopping to discover what the Father really wants from them?”
John Sheasby with Ken Gire, in the book The Birthright

In Leadership Wired newsletter (Vol. 6, Issue 17), John Maxwell explains, "The ability to make the complex seem simple is a mark of a good communicator. Some people do this naturally -- they have an innate capacity to explain complex concepts in ways that evoke understanding instead of vacant looks. Communicators know how to put the cookies on the lower shelf so everybody can have some.

"For other people, speaking with such clarity is more of a challenge. When you're a leader, however, it doesn't matter whether explaining tough ideas is easy or difficult for you. You have to be able to be able to put the cookies on the lower shelf--and do it consistently--if you want to be successful.

"Here are four questions that will help you communicate complicated issues more effectively.
1. Do I understand it?
2. How can I help others understand it?
3. Do they understand it?
4. Did they understand it well enough to help someone else understand it?

"If you want your words to elicit fewer blank stares and more nods of understanding, make it a point to ask yourself these four questions whenever you are trying to explain a complicated concept. It's the only way I know of to ensure that you are putting the cookies on the lower shelf so everybody can have some."

by Jim Denison
Do atheists and agnostics know more about Christianity than Christians? That's what you would think if you scanned the headlines generated by a recent Pew Forum test on religious knowledge.

The Los Angeles Times headlined its story this way: "If you want to know about God, you might want to talk to an atheist." NPR: "Atheists and agnostics know more about Bible than religious." USA Today: "Unbelievers aced out the faithful when it comes to religious knowledge." CNN: "It's not evangelicals or Catholics who did best -- it's atheists and agnostics."

Is it really true that non-believers know more about faith than believers?

Atheists and agnostics answered an average of 20.9 out of 32 questions correctly; evangelical Protestants scored 17.6; Catholics scored 16.0; mainline Protestants scored 15.8. So it would seem that people with no faith know more about faith than those who have it.

But the reports I've read on the survey are misleading. When I went to the Pew Forum's website to read the study, I discovered that only 12 of their 32 questions on religion dealt with Christianity. Eleven related to world religions; others focused on religion in public life.

Contrary to public impression, evangelical Christians did better than atheists/agnostics on questions dealing with Christianity. But atheists and agnostics did much better than evangelicals on questions focusing on world religions, which makes sense as 70 percent of those who are affiliated with a religion say they seldom or never read about other religions. And atheists and agnostics did better with questions about the role of religion in public life. This is not surprising, since they would likely say that they deal with this issue more than believers.... Read this in full at

by John Mark Reynolds
As a boutique belief system in the United States, atheism has a good many advantages. There are so few atheists and agnostics that they do not run all the risks of a populist movement. Not for them is the burden of dealing with the masses of a global population, their idiosyncrasies, worries and all.

Since Christians make up three-quarters or more of the American general population, we have the burden of accounting for almost everybody's problems. Sadly, we are much less well represented in elite education, media, and government. This is not because religion is incompatible with elite education, but because "skepticism" about religion has become a sociological way for the elite to mark themselves off from the rest of us. In this sense, anti-religion (and in particularly anti-Catholicism) serves the same function that joining the "right" church used to serve in another era.

The secular elite have provided most of us with wretched religious education by all but banning it as a topic for serious enquiry or discussion. Meanwhile, they know just enough about religion to get some "facts" right on a pop-religion quiz, but have no grasp on why, despite all temptations, some thoughtful folk remain religious. They know some of the lyrics of religion, but cannot hear the music.... Read this in full at

Many Christians are ineffective because they do not know how to fight the battle of the mind, said popular megachurch pastor Rick Warren at the 2010 Desiring God conference.

[W]hatever gets your mind gets you,” stated Warren in a pre-recorded video played at the conference in Minneapolis, Minn., on Oct. 1. “The battle of sin always starts with the mind.”

The Southern California pastor, known for his innovative thinking, lamented over how few pastors train their followers on how to fight the battle of the mind even though it is so critical to the fight against sin.

The mind is always rebelling but Christians need to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ, said Warren in his talk, titled “Thinking Purposefully for the Glory of Christ: Developing the Mind of Christ.” .... Read this in full at

John Piper stirred up a little controversy last spring when he invited Rick Warren to the Desiring God conference. Due to family health incidents, Warren could not appear live Oct. 1 and addressed the conference via video, but Piper is still determined to ask him questions about The Purpose Driven Life. Piper emerged from an 8-month leave so he could attend the Desiring God conference and for the inauguration of Bethlehem College and Seminary. He spoke with Christianity Today about his new book, Think, his invitation to Warren, and what he has been doing during his leave of absence.

Q: What provoked your new book, Think.
A: It seemed helpful to describe what I've been doing for 30–40 years. Early on, you talk about God because you consider him to be most important. But later you realize there are means by which God is known and portrayed. Also, we have our inaugural convocation for Bethlehem College and Seminary, and I was thinking, what would I see happen there? What kind of a mind do I want these young men and women to develop?

Q: You dedicated the book to Mark Noll and Nathan Hatch, and you reference Noll's Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, adding that you want Christians to think through a biblical lens. So why did you look at "thinking" through that lens?
A: When I asked Mark to do the foreword I told him, "You're going to recognize what this is -- this is tribal scholarship, this is tribal theology. It's all I know to do." When I say I'm not a scholar, you know who I'm measuring myself against: Mark Noll. Mark Noll, to me, is the epitome of what a scholar is. He's so intimidating in his capacities, his scope, his breadth, his comprehensiveness, his nuanced seeing of everything. I really am limited. People think I'm not; I am.

But what I can do is take a paragraph in this book (paging through his Bible) and really milk it. I took that approach because that's all I know to do. I'm a preacher. If I am honest, I would say it's important to do it that way. I looked through a bunch of other books that are out there on the life of the mind; nobody does it this way. It's just a little contribution to all those other books to say, you know, if you take the Bible really seriously, even the texts that look anti-intellectual, it really presses us to think. For the simple, for the biblistic people like me, for somebody to convince me about that would be really good. Because they're going to say, "Oh, to be faithful here I have to develop."

Q: You invited Rick Warren; would you say he exemplifies "thinking"?
A: No, I don't think he exactly exemplifies what I'm after. But he is biblical. He quoted 50 Scriptures from memory. Unbelievable, his mind is Vesuvius. So I asked him what impact reading Jonathan Edwards had on him. What these authors like Karl Barth and Edwards do for him is give him a surge of theological energy that then comes through his wiring. What I wanted to do with Rick is force him to talk about thinking so pragmatists out there can say, "A lot of thinking goes into what he does." .... Read this in full at

Richard Coleman has a passion for missions. But he's concerned that many of his African-American brethren aren't on the same page with him. Black churches overall have not been reinforcing the missionary force out of the United States. And Coleman is hoping they'll confront their longstanding lack of involvement and make their way overseas to the millions who have never heard of Jesus.

According to the 2007 African American Missions Mobilization Manifesto by Columbia International University, blacks make up less than one percent of the total number (118,600) of U.S. missionaries. But Coleman, who serves as the director of candidacy and mobilization for The Mission Society, didn't have to look to statistics to realize that blacks were largely absent from the mission fields.... Read this in full at

"This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it -- the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’"
Jeremiah 33:2-3

Of course God knows what will happen if we use our freedom the wrong way. Apparently He thinks it's worth the risk.”
C.S. Lewis

by Harold Myra and Marshall Shelley (from The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham)
"Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." (Winston Churchill)

As a middle manager was receiving a promotion, his vice president cryptically said, "You know what being promoted means, don't you? It means your bad decisions do more damage."

Our having positions of influence means more opportunity to do good. But it also means that the costs are higher for failure. No one likes to fail, especially leaders, whose failures produce magnified consequences. Our errors of judgment, and our failures of nerve or vision, affect not just ourselves but also our followers and our cause. Clearly, failure is nothing to take lightly.

Yet as ski instructors frequently tell their novice students, "If you don't fall now and then, you're probably not pushing yourself enough."

Failure is the inevitable companion of a large vision. No one can take on a significant and difficult challenge without stumbling a few times. The important thing is how we respond. The goal is not a fail-safe record but a pattern of increasing effectiveness.

David Aikman, analyzing great individuals who shaped the twentieth century, said it well: "Virtue, after all, often consists not so much in the absence of fault altogether as in the speed and grace with which fault is recognized and corrected." .... Read this in full at

by Chris Wright
This time three weeks and it will be all over,” I found myself thinking this evening as I contemplated the fast-approaching Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town. Of course I was quite wrong and immediately rebuked myself. The Congress will be over, but the work and the impact will only be beginning, by God’s grace. For we have no idea exactly what the Sovereign God has in mind for this event -– except to say that it will probably surprise us all  (as the First Lausanne Congress did in 1974).

The breadth of the Lausanne Movement reflects something of the breadth of the world church, since the majority of the 5,000 or so participants will be from the ‘majority world’ -– i.e. the lands of the global south and east, where the majority of the world’s Christians are now to be found. And the breadth of the Lausanne agenda in Cape Town reflects something of the breadth of world mission, in all its forms and activities. Since 1974, “Lausanne” has stood for a holistic understanding of mission, including all that the Bible shows of the heart of God for his alienated world and all that the Bible mandates us to be, say, and do, in the world in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. A glance at the Lausanne website ( ), and especially at the section given to all the documents and forums and special interests that have camped under its broad tent, shows the amazing range of the missional involvement of people for whom “The Lausanne Covenant” provides an expression of their faith and commitment.... Read this in full at

Philip Yancey grew up in a strict, fundamentalist church in the Deep South. He spent most of his early life in a bubble, attending a Bible college that in hindsight seems like "an island fortress against the outside world, one with its own private culture." Even the Sixties' sexual revolution did not penetrate the college's sealed environment, he says.

The school's list of forbidden activities included dancing, playing cards, skating at public rinks and movies, among others. Students could only play music "consistent with a Christian testimony;" women's skirts were measured; and men could not grow a beard or moustache.

He went through a period of reacting against everything he was taught and later realized that "God had been misrepresented" to him.

Since then Yancey has explored some of the most basic questions of the Christian faith with a worldwide audience. His popular books include Disappointment with God and Where is God When it Hurts. His newest book explores the question "What good is God?"

The bestselling author is interviewed on his new book and about the less than vibrant Christianity found in the United States today.... Read this in full at

A Southern Baptist leader who is calling for Christians to avoid yoga and its spiritual attachments is getting plenty of pushback from enthusiasts who defend the ancient practice. Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler says the stretching and meditative discipline derived from Eastern religions is not a Christian pathway to God. Mohler said he objects to "the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine." "That's just not Christianity," Mohler told The Associated Press.

Mohler said feedback has come through e-mail and comments on blogs and other websites since he wrote an essay to address questions about yoga he has heard for years. "I'm really surprised by the depth of the commitment to yoga found on the part of many who identify as Christians," Mohler said.... Read this in full at

A federal judge has dismissed a suit arguing that engravings of "In God We Trust" and the Pledge of Allegiance at the US Capitol Visitor Center here are unconstitutional. US District Court Judge William Conley of Madison, Wis., dismissed the suit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on Sept. 29 due to lack of standing. He said the Wisconsin-based organization did not make a sufficient link between their taxpayer status and the money spent on the engravings that included the national motto and the words "under God" in the pledge. "Any funds used by the government will necessarily result in the use of taxpayer money," Conley wrote.... Read this in full at

On the eve of a Supreme Court session that will feature six Catholic justices for only the second year in its history, five members of the court joined Vice President Biden at a traditional kickoff Mass Sunday at a downtown cathedral.

The so-called Red Mass, a service dedicated to jurists and lawyers, dates to the 13th century in Europe and has been a first-Sunday-in-October custom in Washington for 57 years. Led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the justices lined two front pews in the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle as judges, lawyers and law school students filled the church. The dean of the Georgetown University Law Center led a prayer, and a federal judge served as an usher.

"Your presence here is witness to the importance our nation places on the rule of law," Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl said from the pulpit. The service began with a flag procession by purple-plumed members of the Knights of Columbus and ended with the singing of "America the Beautiful."

In a homily by an American cleric serving in the Vatican, justices heard that the tradition began at time of civic strife similar to the current judicial mood.... Read this in full at

The US Supreme Court won't hear the appeal of a man who sued his children’s school district over its ban on celebratory religious music.

The case against the ban implemented by the South Orange-Maplewood school district in New Jersey was one of hundreds the high court turned down as it opened its new term on the traditional first Monday in October.

The ban had been upheld by the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia last November though the judges acknowledged that religious songs during the holiday season once received no objection.

Since then, the governing principles have been examined and defined with more particularity,” the judges wrote in their ruling. And now, school authorities should be the ones who decide “how to best create an inclusive environment in public schools,” they suggested.

Attorneys representing Michael Stratechuk and his two children, however, insist that the policy is unconstitutional.... Read this in full at

Ancient Israelites drank beer as well as wine, and the brew was even acceptable as an offering to God, a biblical scholar argues. Associate Professor of Theology at the Roman Catholic Xavier University in Louisiana, Michael Homan, believes that the Hebrew word shekhar has been mistranslated in English Bibles to mean liquor or strong drink, when it should be translated as beer.

He said that the mistranslation was clue in part to academic snobbishness, which led scholars to scorn beer drinkers but celebrate the wine-drinking culture.

In an article in the current issue of the Biblical Archaeology Review, Professor Homan writes: “This has led many Bible scholars actively to distance biblical heroes from a beer drinking world, much like some Christians prefer to believe that Jesus drank unfermented grape juice despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

The difficulty of finding archaeological evidence of beer drinking -- owing to the fact that most of the tools used were also used in bread-making, and that beer was drunk fresh and not stored -- had meant that the amount of beer drinking in Israeli society had been underestimated.... Read this in full at

Britain officially recognized Druidry, an ancient nature-based belief system, as a religion for the first time and gave it charitable status on Saturday. "There is a sufficient belief in a supreme being or entity to constitute a religion for the purposes of charity law," the Charity Commission for England and Wales said in response to the Druid Network's application. The decision will give the neo-pagan religion, known for its cloaked worshippers at Stonehenge and other sites, tax advantages and is expected to lead to broader acceptance. "This has been a long hard struggle taking over five years to complete," said the Druid Network on its website.... Read this in full at

Also: “Druidry to be classed as religion by Charity Commission”

Stephen Mosher was in China in 1980 when that government handed down the original one-child policy. Thirty years later, as the Chinese government praises the policy, Mosher says the experiment is an "unmitigated social disaster" by a "police state." Mosher, now the president of the Population Research Institute, highlighted the policy's human rights violations, including forced sterilizations and abortions. "Economic controls have been loosened over the past 30 years, so control over other aspects of life must be tightened," he said. "The brutal one-child policy is one consequence of such a system's relentless drive for control over people's lives." .... Read this in full at

The number of unmarried couples living together rose 13% from the previous year, according to the US Census Bureau. About 7.5 million opposite-couples lived together without getting married in 2010, up from 6.7 million in 2009. Increased financial stress and a poor job market likely pushed some couples to move in together, as only 49% of recently cohabitating couples say both of them have jobs. That's down from 59% two years ago. To combat the trend, some churches have offered free mass weddings to cohabiting couples. Trinity Fellowship Church, a megachurch in Amarillo, Texas, organized a nearly $3,000 event called "The Big Summer Wedding" last year designed to get couples who are living together to the altar. In total, 32 couples were married by the senior elder at the church.... Read this in full at

In the days of the Old Testament, it was the role of the prophet to warn the people of God about impending dangers. In the Christian church of today, that role often falls to the church administrator, whose job it is to foresee threats that would put a congregation at risk—risk of liability, injury, abuse or theft.

But without proper training, administrative leaders can "wade into deep water unknowingly," said Cheryl Valdebenito of Tampa, Fla., finance manager of the Presbytery of Tampa Bay.

"From finance to insurance to physical facility, if churches aren't on top of their game, they can suffer significant loss and wonder, in hindsight, what happened that they weren't prepared," said Valdebenito.

On Oct. 21, administrative leaders nationwide will be helping each other do a better job of protecting their congregations from those threats. National Church Administration Day has taken as its theme "Risk Management: The Cost of Ministry."

Sponsored by the National Association of Church Business Administration, NCAD is a peer-learning event in which seasoned church leaders share their expertise with anyone—whether clergy or laity—performing administrative duties in any congregation, with the goal that all churches become more effective and responsible.... Read this in full at

Lions Roar Global Men’s Summit / Dallas, Texas / November 1, 2, 3
by James O. Davis, Billion Soul Network
When you are gone, are you going to be missed, other than by your family? Will it make a difference? We are all going. The question is, what difference will it make? Will our lives have any kind of impact?

A man once woke up in the recovery room after surgery and saw that curtains covered all of the windows. He called out to the nurse, “I want to see outside. Who closed the curtains?” She said, “I closed them because there is a big fire across the street. I didn’t want you to wake up and think the operation was not a success.”

Some people are going to wake up and find out that their entire lives were not a success. They’ll go into eternity with a wasted life.

The world measures a man by brains, by brawn, or by bucks (money). How do you measure a man? In the Guinness Book of World Records, Michael Letito was famous for eating glass and metal. He a supermarket cart in four and a half days. He ate ten bicycles, six chandeliers and a Cessna Light Aircraft, among other things. Now can you imagine how he reported to Jesus when he died? “Lord, I ate an airplane.” What really matters? How do you measure a life? .... Read this in full at

A couple had an argument, and now they were driving down a country road, not saying a word. As they passed a barnyard of mules, the wife sarcastically asked, "Relatives of yours?" "Yep," the husband replied. "In-laws."

Joy is love exalted; peace is love in repose; long-suffering is love enduring; gentleness is love in society; goodness is love in action; faith is love on the battlefield; meekness is love in school; and temperance is love in training.”
Dwight L. Moody

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7

Words: Joshua Stegmann, 1628
Music: Melchior Vulpius, 1609

Abide, O dearest Jesus,
Among us with Thy grace,
That Satan may not harm us,
Nor we to sin give place.

Abide, O dear Redeemer,
Among us with Thy Word,
And thus now and hereafter
True peace and joy afford.

Abide with heav’nly brightness
Among us, precious Light;
Thy truth direct, and keep us
From error’s gloomy night.

Abide with richest blessings
Among us, bounteous Lord;
Let us in grace and wisdom
Grow daily through Thy Word.

Abide with Thy protection
Among us, Lord, our Strength,
Lest world and Satan fell us
And overcome at length.

Abide, O faithful Savior,
Among us with Thy love;
Grant steadfastness, and help us
To reach our home above.

>from NetHymnal at

Teach me, God, to pray / in works as much as in words / to make my actions thoughtful messages / to make my actions more beautiful than words.”
Wayne Lee Jones


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 us to add you to our prayer chain 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.

Our Amazing Planet from Top to Bottom (hover over to stop scrolling)

A Tiny Apartment Transforms Into 24 Rooms

Dramatic photo of the Stockholm Library

A bird’s silly walk

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.)

I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it.
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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