Connecting man to man to God
For week of November 28, 2010
Issue 332

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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You, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation.”
Lamentations 5:19

God is always with us, why should we not always be with God?”
William Ullathorne

by Alana Baranick
Howard O. Jones, the first black associate evangelist of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), died at age 89 Nov. 14. During his life he traveled the world with Graham and handled much of the groundwork for the legendary evangelist’s African crusade in 1960.

Howard was the principal speaker for BGEA’s “Hour of Freedom” radio broadcast for 35 years and became the first African American to be inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1995.

He began his ministerial career with a heart for the African mission field and his likeminded wife, Wanda, at his side.... Read this in full at

by Daniel Burke
Whether it’s a mere “Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub,” or a more solemn supplication, millions of Americans bowed their heads this past Thanksgiving in gratitude for the bounty of food before them.

Even a murmured “Thanks be to God,” before carving the Thanksgiving turkey speaks volumes about the person praying, especially if it’s a daily habit, according to scholars.

In fact, not only is saying grace one of the best indicators of how religious a person is, but it also has strong connections to partisan politics, according to scholars Robert Putnam and David Campbell.... Read this in full at

Gratitude is a discipline that involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly.“
Henri J. M. Nouwen

by CNN's Gabe La Monica
At the inner Washington offices of the American Enterprise Institute, I pitted the question to Shane Claiborne and Peter Greer, both Christian advocates for the poor. They had just participated in an in-depth discourse moderated by Eric Teetsel at AEI about the existential nature of charity.

Claiborne is a lanky, tall fellow with long dreadlocks, earrings, and a goatee.

The founding member of the Simple Way community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, responded: “Jesus wasn’t anything that ended in “ist” - he was an existential lover -- but I think that he was challenging all these systems, and he was pulling the best of the people in those systems out.” .... Read this in full and see the video at

The transformative trends of the past 50 years that have led to a sharp decline in marriage and a rise of new family forms have been shaped by attitudes and behaviors that differ by class, age and race, according to a new Pew Research Center nationwide survey, done in association with TIME, complemented by an analysis of demographic and economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A new “marriage gap” in the United States is increasingly aligned with a growing income gap. Marriage, while declining among all groups, remains the norm for adults with a college education and good income but is now markedly less prevalent among those on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder. The survey finds that those in this less-advantaged group are as likely as others to want to marry, but they place a higher premium on economic security as a condition for marriage. This is a bar that many may not meet.

The survey also finds striking differences by generation. In 1960, two-thirds (68%) of all twenty-somethings were married. In 2008, just 26% were. How many of today’s youth will eventually marry is an open question. For now, the survey finds that the young are much more inclined than their elders to view cohabitation without marriage and other new family forms — such as same sex marriage and interracial marriage — in a positive light.

Even as marriage shrinks, family— in all its emerging varieties — remains resilient. The survey finds that Americans have an expansive definition of what constitutes a family. And the vast majority of adults consider their own family to be the most important, most satisfying element of their lives.

Nearly 4-in-10 survey respondents (39%) say marriage is obsolete; in 1978 when Time magazine posed this question to registered voters, just 28% agreed. Those most likely to agree include those who are a part of the phenomenon (62% of cohabiting parents) as well as those most likely to be troubled by it (42% of self-described conservatives). Despite these growing uncertainties, Americans are more upbeat about the future of marriage and family (67% say they are optimistic) than about the future of the country’s educational system (50% optimistic), its economic system (46% optimistic) or its morals and ethics (41% optimistic).... Read this in full at

See also “Why recent headlines on marriage don't do the new Pew survey justice”

What did Jesus mean by the kingdom of God? The word kingdom meant one thing to Jesus and quite another to the crowd. Jesus was rejected, in large part, because he did not measure up to a national image of what a Messiah was supposed to look like. A question has long puzzled me. In view of their expectations, why did Jesus keep arousing his followers’ hopes with the word kingdom? He insisted on associating himself with a term that everyone seemed to misunderstand. Jesus never offered a clear definition of the kingdom; instead he imparted his vision of it indirectly through a series of stories.

His choice of images is telling: everyday sketches of farming, fishing, women baking bread, merchants buying pearls. The kingdom of heaven is like a farmer going out to sow his seed. As every farmer knows, not all the seed you plant ends up yielding crops. Some falls among rocks, some gets eaten by birds and field mice, some gets crowded out by weeds. All this seems natural to a farmer, but heretical to a traditional kingdom-builder. Are not kings judged by their power, their ability to impose their will on a populace, their strength in repelling enemies? Jesus was indicating that the kingdom of God comes with a resistible power. It is humble and unobtrusive and coexistent with evil -- a message that surely did not please patriotic Jews intent on revolt.

Consider the mustard seed, a seed so tiny it can fall to the ground and lie unnoticed by human beings and birds alike. Given time, though, the seed may sprout into a bush that overtakes every other plant in the garden, a bush so large and verdant that birds come and nest in its branches. God’s kingdom works like that. It begins so small that people scorn it and give it no chance for success. Against all odds, God’s kingdom will grow and spread throughout the world, bringing shade to the sick, the poor, the imprisoned, the unloved... These are the stories Jesus told.”
Philip Yancey, in the book Jesus

Next to grace, time is the most precious gift of God. Yet how much of both we waste. We say that time does many things. It teaches us many lessons, weans us from many follies, strengthens us in good resolves, and heals many wounds. And yet it does none of these things. Time does nothing. But time is the condition of all these things which God does in time. Time is full of eternity. As we use it so shall we be. Every day has its opportunities, every hour its offer of grace.”
Henry E. Manning

Despite early projections of a robust holiday season for U.S. retailers, according to a new US- Canada study commissioned by World Vision, an international relief and development organization, more Americans, almost 7 out of 10 (69 percent), say they'll spend less on holiday presents this year as a result of the current economic climate. Last year, just over half (only 57 percent) said they would. Earlier this month, a consumer study for the National Retail Federation predicted that holiday spending this year in the United States would be up 2.3 percent. That study also said the economy would have less of an effect on holiday spending this year than in 2009.

According to the World Vision survey, conducted by telephone by Harris Interactive in November 2010, the tough economy will affect holiday shoppers in the United States harder than it will hit Canadians. Americans are more likely than their Canadian counterparts to say that, as a result of the economic climate, they will spend less money on holiday gifts (69% vs. 61%) and are now more likely to give charitable gifts as holiday presents (51% vs. 42%).... Read this in full at

The rule that governs my life is this: Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it. This simple rule may help you find a safe road for your feet along life’s road.”
J. Wilbur Chapman

CNN's Reynold's Wolf sat down with former Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden for a conversation on faith.... See the video at

During college, students attend religious services less often, but they become more spiritual -- and that growth is linked to a number of positive academic and personal outcomes. That's one of the key findings of Cultivating the Spirit: How College Can Enhance Students' Inner Lives, a new book based on a longitudinal study of students.

The basis of the book is surveys given to students as entering freshmen and as juniors. The freshman survey was included in a special expanded version of the annual Cooperative Institutional Research Program Freshman Survey, conducted by the University of California at Los Angeles's Higher Education Research Institute, which more than 112,000 students took in 2004. A subsample of about 15,000 juniors completed a follow-up survey in the spring of 2007.

The study was designed to measure, separately, students' religious and spiritual qualities. Students' responses from freshman and junior years were compared to show change over the course of college. Researchers released some results from the study in 2007, showing that students became more interested in spirituality and more caring over time.... Read this in full at

See also “Spirituality finds a home at college”,0,5130271.story

What’s important is that God is so much part and parcel of life that spontaneous mental chat becomes second nature.”
Cliff Richard

The world's best-selling Bible is getting an upgrade. At stake are millions of dollars in publishing revenue and the trust of millions of churchgoers.

Since its debut in 1978, the New International Version — known as the NIV — has been the Bible of choice for evangelicals, selling more copies than any other version. But a 2005 gender-inclusive edition bombed after being condemned as too liberal.

Translators hope their latest edition, which debuted online this month, will avoid a similar fate. They've retained some of the language of the 2005 edition. But they also made changes — like going back to using words like "mankind" and "man" instead of "human beings" and "people" — in order to appease critics. It's available for preview at, with print versions expected in March.... Read this in full at

Also see “New NIV Bible Still Draws Criticisms Over Gender-Related Passages”

When I was crossing the Irish Channel one dark, starless night, I stood on the deck by the captain and asked him, ‘How do you know Holyhead Harbor on so dark a night as this?’ He said, ‘You see those three lights? Those three must line up behind each other as one, and when we see them so united we know the exact position of the harbor’s mouth.’ When we want to know God’s will there are three things which always concur: the inward impulse, the Word of God, and the trend of circumstances! God in the heart, impelling you forward; God in His book corroborating whatever He says in the heart; and God in circumstances, which are always indicative of His will. Never start until these three things agree.”
F. B. Meyer

There are many people living in the midst of unattractive circumstances, amid hardships, toil, and disease, whose daily life breathes out most gently music that blesses others about them.”
J. F. Millar

Religion Watch ( is celebrating its 25th anniversary of reporting on trends in contemporary religion from around the world in 2010. The newsletter was first published with a trial issue in September, 1985 and started publishing every month the following December.

The newsletter was founded by Richard Cimino, Ph.D., its current editor, as a way for journalists to keep abreast of research and trends on the religious scene. RW summarized articles from a wide range of sources, including journals, newspapers, and magazines. Within a few years, the newsletter attracted a diverse readership of journalists, scholars, clergy, religious leaders, and interested lay people.... Read this in full at

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."
Psalm 19:14

God is wanting you to give Him the despised, the humdrum things in your life -- like feet -- and let Him make them beautiful.”
Robert Pierce (1914-1978), founder and president, World Vision, in a private communication from World Vision

In what has become an annual virtual tradition, Trinity Wall Street has created an embeddable online multimedia Advent calendar. From November 28 through December 25, 2010, this year's calendar, Love Revealed, will use music, video, photography, and Scripture to tell the stories of young people across America who are growing into wisdom, advocating for change, and creating a better world. In particular focus this year are the innovative Church programs that are enriching the lives of youth and young adults — especially those who want to make meaning by helping others. Viewers will meet inspiring people who have said yes to lives of service, community, and teaching. Each featured story also includes a "flip" option for daily Scripture and music.... Read this in full at

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching’ (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Whenever I read this passage, I picture the infamous scene in the movie ‘A Christmas Story.’ Ralphie's friends Flick and Schwartz argue over whether a person's tongue will stick to a frozen flagpole. Schwartz ultimately issues Flick a "triple dog dare," and Flick's tongue gets stuck to the pole, much to their terror. Much like a triple dog dare, the word spur means to ‘to provoke’ or ‘to stimulate.’ When left in isolation, we seldom take the risks that a group might encourage us to take. The writer to the Hebrews exhorted first-century Christians to not give up meeting together in community because it offered the best opportunity to stimulate one another...

We offer a small group experience we call LinC (Living in Community). The goal of LinC is to help people discover what missional community is all about ... to spur people to engage in something they would never do on their own. The LinC group heard about a new church plant that was starting up in our neighborhood. During a brainstorming session, someone came up with the idea of attending the church plant's next service in order to support them and pray with them. She invited others to join her, and another person immediately objected that he was hesitant to pray out loud, particularly in front of strangers. But that evening, the group met with the leadership team of the new church plant -- and who do you think was the first person to pray aloud? ... Influence is all about relationship. When people belong to a group of friends who motivate and encourage each other, they are stretched to do things they would never have done on their own.”
Mike Tatlock, in his book Faith in Real Life

More than in previous generations, 20- and 30- somethings are abandoning the faith. Why?
by Drew Dyck
A recent study from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) says the percentage of Americans claiming "no religion" almost doubled in about two decades, climbing from 8.1% in 1990 to 15% in 2008. The trend wasn't confined to one region. Those marking "no religion," called the "Nones," made up the only group to have grown in every state, from the secular Northeast to the conservative Bible Belt. The Nones were most numerous among the young: a whopping 22% of 18- to 29-year-olds claimed no religion, up from 11% in 1990. The study also found that 73% of Nones came from religious homes; 66% were described by the study as "de-converts."

Other survey results have been grimmer. At the May 2009 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, top political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell presented research from their book American Grace, released last month. They reported that "young Americans are dropping out of religion at an alarming rate of five to six times the historic rate (30% to 40% have no religion today, versus 5% to 10% a generation ago)." .... Read this in full at

Megachurches across the country are holding their own during uncertain economic times, a new survey shows. Most megachurches continue to see attendance and giving rise, and the bigger the church is, the more likely it is to experience increases, Leadership Network reported in its 2010 Large Church Economic Outlook Report.

Survey results indicate that the economic downturn is having little impact on America's larger churches. One hundred percent of churches with 8,000 or more attendees experienced growth in attendance and giving from 2009 to 2010. And all surveyed churches with attendance of 10,000 to 14,999 plan to reach this year's budget projections.

Overall, 81% of megachurches -- congregations with attendance of 2,000 or more -- saw more attendees and only 9% reported lower attendance. Sixty-seven percent of megachurches increased their budget, with the average increase being three percent, and the same proportion said they expect to meet their 2010 budget.... Read this in full at

God be in my head,
And in my understanding;
God be in my eyes,
And in my looking;
God be in my mouth,
And in my speaking;
God be in my heart,
And in my thinking;
God be at my end,
And at my departing.
Old Sarum Primer, 1558

Thomas Nelson, the world's leading publisher of KJV Bibles, has launched a new website dedicated to celebrating the upcoming 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, the most influential book ever published in the English language. went live Nov. 26, 2010, kicking off "400 Days of Celebration" commemorating the historical, religious, and cultural impact of the KJV.... Read this in full at

I will say ... to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’” (Isaiah 43:6)
From the pen of Charles Spurgeon: Although this message was said to the nations of the south to hold back no longer the dispersed descendants of Israel, the following may be a valuable summons to personally apply to ourselves as well: ‘Do not hold ... back’...

Dear reader, are you still unconverted, but have a desire to trust in the Lord Jesus? Then, ‘Do not hold ... back.’ Love invites you, God's promises guarantee your success, and Christ's precious blood prepares your way...

Dear friend, are you already saved? ... There is a blessed promise made to those who confess Christ, so by no means miss it ... If you have been blessed with talents, don't hold back from using them. Neither hoard your wealth, waste your time, let your abilities rust, nor let your influence be unused ... Don't hold back from close communion with God, from boldly appropriating His covenant blessings, from advancing in His divine life, and from searching into the precious mysteries of the love of Christ ... Beloved friend, do not be guilty of holding others back by your coldness, harshness, or doubts. For His sake, go forward with Jesus and encourage others to do the same...”
Charles Spurgeon & Jim Reimann, in the book Morning by Morning: The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon

WASHINGTON (BP)--Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the opportunity of the federal government's latest International Religious Freedom Report to speak out for a broad view of religious liberty, pleasing a bipartisan panel that had questioned the Obama administration's commitment to the issue.

The State Department issued its annual report on global religious liberty Nov. 17, specifying the many abuses -- along with some improvements -- among 198 countries.

The department, however, failed to designate "countries of particular concern" (CPCs), a category reserved for the most severe violators of religious freedom. The 1998 law requiring the annual report also calls for a yearly designation of CPCs. None, however, have been named in nearly two years. The Bush administration designated CPCs in January 2008, only four days before President Obama was inaugurated.... Read this in full at

Convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff bilked billions of dollars out of thousands of fellow Jews, including charities like the Elie Wiesel Foundation and Steven Spielberg Wunderkinder Foundation.

Other major frauds exposed by federal investigators in recent years have targeted Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, black churches and other denominations, from $190 million lost in a three-year scam promoted by a Christian radio host in Minnesota to an estimated $1.4 billion conned from thousands of Utah Mormons.

Now three Pakistani immigrants -- two believed to have fled the U.S. -- are accused of swindling $30 million from hundreds of Chicago-area Muslims with an investment plan they promised complied with Islamic law.

Is it simply too easy for con artists to prey on people of faith? .... Read this in full at

When pain is to be born, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.”
C. S. Lewis

"How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears."
2 Samuel 7:22

Words: Charles Coffin, 1736
Music: Samuel Wesley, 1837

The advent of our God
Our prayers must now employ,
And we must meet Him on His road
With hymns of holy joy.

The everlasting Son
Incarnate deigns to be;
Himself a servant’s form puts on
To set His people free.

Daughter of Zion, rise
To meet thy lowly King,
Nor let thy faithless heart despise
The peace He comes to bring.

As Judge, on clouds of light,
He soon will come again,
And all His scattered saints unite
With Him in Heaven to reign.

Before the dawning day
Let sin’s dark deeds be gone;
The old man all be put away,
The new man all put on.

All glory to the Son
Who comes to set us free,
With Father, Spirit, ever One,
Through all eternity.

>from NetHymnal at

We are always in the presence of God, yet it seems to me that those who pray are in his presence in a very different sense.”
Teresa of Avila


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.]

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Sound: Rainy Evening

Relaxation Audio

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Photos: artwork cut from a single sheet of paper

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.)

An unemployed jester is nobody's fool.
Min. Frank Coleman, Editor

Thanks 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!

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.
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