Connecting man to man to God
For week of January 9, 2011
Issue 338


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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As the [Lord] has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my [Lord's] commandments and abide in [God's] love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”
John 15:9-11



     CONSIDER
Witnessing is removing the various barriers of our self-love to allow Christ, living within us, to show himself to our neighbors.”
Paul Frost



     MOTORCYCLES AND WORLD CUPS
by Mark Buchanan
I wouldn't want to live without ambition. Actually, I wouldn't be able to live without it. Ambition is what keeps us at it. It rouses us from slumber, pushes us out the door, gets us reaching beyond ourselves. It calls us to sacrifice and risk-taking. Ambition is what keeps us in the fight or in the race when everything in us wants to quit.

But ambition is not a pure good. It easily taints. It can become a drive to win at all costs. "What good is it," Jesus asked, "if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?" What good is it if your desire to succeed destroys you? If ambition undoes you? Many evils, great and small, are committed by those in the grip of skewed ambition.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/thepastor/soulspirit/motorcyclescups.html


     WHAT MILLENNIALS WANT IN LEADERS
by Thom S. Rainer
The Millennials are America's largest generation, more than 78 million in number. They’re slightly larger in number than the well-documented Baby Boomer generation. The Millennials were born between 1980 and 2000, though our research included only the older portion of this generation, those born between 1980 and 1991. The study included demographic sampling that well represents the generation in total.

We found 4 major leadership foci among the Millennials. We dubbed them simply "What Millennials Want in Leaders."
1. Mentoring.
2. Gentle spirit.
3. Transparency and authenticity.
4. Integrity.... Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=34396


     HOW FAITH HELPED UNCOVER A 'GOLDEN VOICE'
It’s the urban drama most of us have been forced to play. A panhandler stands outside your car window, invoking God and asking for help. What do you do? For many, the answer is nothing, Keep the windows rolled up and drive straight ahead. Homeless people pleading for help are now so numerous that they’ve become what one pastor called “visual white noise” in our contemporary landscape.

Several weeks ago, though, Doral Chenoweth III, made another decision. He stopped for Ted Williams, a man we now know as “the homeless guy with the golden voice.” We know what’s happened to Williams:  overnight fame,  job offers. But what about Chenoweth? What made him stop for Williams? It turns out Chenoweth has a story of his own, and it’s rooted in his faith.... Read this in full at
http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/01/06/golden.voice.homeless/index.html


     INDIVIDUALISM SHINES THROUGH AMERICANS’ 2011 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
Less than half of Americans said they will make New Year’s resolutions for 2011, a new survey reveals. And among those planning to make resolutions, few plan on having accountability or a support system in place to help them keep those commitments, according to the Barna Group.

The most popular pledges this year relate to weight, diet and health. While 30% of surveyed Americans plan to make health pledges, 15% said their resolutions will be about money, 13% will make resolutions relating to personal improvement, and 12% said their pledges will relate to addiction. Only 5% plan to make a spiritual or church-related resolution.... Read this in full at
http://www.barna.org/culture-articles/465-americans-resolutions-for-2011


     RESOLVE TO READ THE BIBLE DAILY IN 2011
by Barry Howard
Often I am asked: “What can I do to grow as a Christian?” There are several things that may help you grow in your faith, but one of the most important things is to read the Bible every day.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But developing a daily discipline of Bible reading can be challenging because it requires changing our daily habits. However, you are never too young or too old to start.

In the New Year’s season when folks traditionally make resolutions and establish goals for the coming year, why not resolve to read the Bible every day? Consider some of the advantages. Daily Bible reading increases our knowledge of God’s Word. It gives us a more intimate and personal acquaintance with the biblical text. It helps us to discern God’s plan for us. It encourages us to integrate the teachings of the Bible into our daily lifestyle. It confronts our personal sin and affirms God’s forgiveness. It inspires us toward faithfulness and consistency in all of our tasks.... Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6004/9/


     A NEW YEAR'S INVITATION
by Shane Claiborne
According to the birth narrative told in the Gospel of Matthew, right after the birth of Jesus, there was a slaughter in the land (Matthew: 2: 16-18). King Herod did what many powerful folks do when they are scared -- he started killing. According to Matthew, Herod began killing all the little boys under 2 years old throughout the empire, hoping to exterminate the baby wannabee king.

I know it's a real downer to come out of the most joyous season of the year -- with Christmas trees, hot chocolate and 450 billion dollars in retail spending -- and talk about kids getting killed. Sort of ruins the Christmas chi.

But for the early Christians, the slaughter that immediately followed the birth of Jesus was a detail of the Christmas story that they did not want to erase from their memory. Not only is it written into the Gospel itself, but the early Church marked it on the calendar as a holy day to remember annually -- the "Feast of the Holy Innocents." This horrible event has been carefully and permanently inscribed in the memory of the Church. By much of the church these children are considered the first martyrs. To this day, Christians around the world remember the "holy innocents" of the first century who did not survive, even as we celebrate the birth of Christ.

These holy innocents were the collateral damage of the empire -- they were a reminder of what Herods can do, especially when they are scared. They are a reminder that the birth of the Prince of Peace was riddled with suffering. Even as Christ was born, the world around him was in shambles. Not a lot has changed, 2,000 or so Christmases later.

Maybe it's worth pausing, even amid the celebration, to remember the suffering. Perhaps it is worth pausing today to remember the Holy Innocents who continue to suffer in our world. I have a little invitation for you: Bring in the New Year with the children of Afghanistan.... Read this in full at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shane-claiborne/a-new-years-invitation-br_b_803013.html


     NEW YEAR'S REVOLUTIONS
by Ann Miller
Study, read, look for alternative news outlets and pick an issue. Whether it's health care, homelessness, the environment, or helping to put an end to our endless invasions and occupations of other people's lands, choose an issue and get active! You can find thousands of amazing non-profits on the internet that can use your help or donations. If you don't have the time or energy, or aren't able to be physically active, the Petition Site offers a way to help simply by signing and sending off petitions on important issues and causes. They do the work; you take just a minute of your time to help make a positive change in our world.

And, as a Christian myself, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that those of us who call ourselves "Christians" and endlessly talk about our so-called "Christian values" should act like we actually have some. Peace and love are pretty basic elements of Christianity. Jesus loved the poor and the outsider, and we don't call him the "Prince of Peace" because he was a warmonger.... Read this in full at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ann-miller/new-years-revolutions_b_802974.html


     BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN VIRTUE
by Mark Galli
At the risk of derailing someone's hard fought New Year's vows, let me suggest that some of us stop trying to become good Christians, or whatever noble thing we're striving to be.

I grant that the New Testament is replete with admonitions to "strive" and "make every effort" to be faithful followers of Jesus. One of Paul's favorite expressions along these lines is a dressing metaphor: "put on the new self" (Col. 3:10), "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 13:14), and "put on the whole armor of God" (Eph. 6:11), to quote a few of the places where he uses this stock phrase. He often ties this metaphor to the virtues: We are to put on "the breastplate of righteousness" (Eph. 6:14), "to put on … compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience" (Col. 3:12), and above all we are to "put on love" (Col. 3:14).

What Paul doesn't address is how exactly one "puts on" these virtues. The answer is more mysterious than we are apt to think.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/januaryweb-only/soulwork1611.html


     RELIGION DECADE IN REVIEW 2000-2009
Religion & Ethics Newsweekly television program looks back at excerpts from its conversations with reporters over the past 10 years about religion and its changing role in the world. Watch it at
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/december-24-2010/decade-in-review-2000-2009/7739/


     GROUP: ANTI-CHRISTIAN EVENTS OF 2010 POINT TO CHRISTOPHOBIA
A Christian website says their top ten list of attacks on Christian beliefs creates the case for a growing Christophobia problem in the United States. After accepting several submissions, blog DefendChristians.org listed the Top Ten Anti-Christian Events in 2010.

The number one event on the list is the use of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to force faith-based institutions to hire non-believers. Also near the top of the list is the expulsion of two Christian students from their Master's program in counseling for their biblical beliefs about homosexuality. These are examples of a growing phobia toward Christians, said Dr. Gary L. Cass, president and CEO of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20110104/group-anti-christian-events-of-2010-point-to-christophobia/


     GRACE
Grace is the incomprehensible fact that God is well pleased with a man, and that a man can rejoice in God. Only when grace is recognized to be incomprehensible is it grace. Grace exists, therefore, only where the Resurrection is reflected. Grace is the gift of Christ, who exposes the gulf which separates God and man, and, by exposing it, bridges it.”
Karl Barth (1886-1968), The Epistle to the Romans, translated from the 6th edition by Edwyn C. Hoskyns, London: Oxford University Press, H. Milford, 1933, 6th ed., Oxford University Press US, 1968, p. 31



     NEW SOFTWARE ALLOWS YOU TO STAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR LOVED ONES AFTER THE HOLIDAYS
The recent holidays, and those yet to come, are times that bring families together from great distances away. But they're too brief and, often, a sense of void is felt when the family again disperses.

New software just created by a grandparent couple from Texas who travel extensively is specifically designed to help people stay close to the ones they love, no matter how far away they live. Produced to bridge the relational gap caused by business travel, military commitments, geographic distance, and complicated relationships -- situations affecting potentially 30 million people -- Storycorder (http://Storycorder.com) makes it possible to simply and inexpensively create a recording of a favorite storybook.

According to creators Doug and Sherry Gleason, Storycorder "makes it simple to record yourself reading any book out loud, burn that recording to a CD, and create a CD/book package to send to your loved one." They say the software can also be used in reverse, by children to record their voices to "warm the heart of their long-distance relatives."

Storycorder software is downloadable from Storycorder.com  to be placed onto a personal computer. It will soon be available for the Mac operating system.

Studies show reading aloud to children is one of the most important actions to build literary skills and to ensure proper childhood, educational, and relational growth. The American Academy of Pediatrics "strongly recommends reading to children" because "reading stimulates the development of the brain, language, and a closer emotional relationship with a child." And the National Center for Education Statistics reports that children who are read to become better readers and perform better in school than those who are not read to.

"Our over-riding goal in creating Storycorder was to make it as easy as possible for a person to record the reading of a book so the child can clearly follow along," says Doug Gleason. Storycorder allows the narrator to listen to each page as it's recorded and re-record it if necessary until the results are satisfactory. It also embeds a selected sound effect that signals the child to turn the page.

"Other read-record books might be available, but Storycorder is software you can use to record any book -- and any number of books," says Sherry Gleason. "It frees the parent and grandparent to send their little loved ones a reading from their favorite books, making it extremely personal."

System requirements:
Operating system: Windows XP (SP-2), Windows Vista (SP-1), .NET Framework 2.0 or greater
RAM: 1 GByte (free)
Hard Drive memory: 1 GByte (free)
R/RW CD drive
Windows compatible microphone
More information is at http://Storycorder.com


     TIM TEBOW MOVES BIBLE VERSE FROM EYE BLACK TO WRIST
Tim Tebow, the evangelical darling who uses football as a platform for ministry, has found a way around the NFL rule that bans writing on the eye black.

He was seen Jan. 2 during the game between his Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans with a Bible verse written on his wrist band, usually used to store game plays. The verse appears to be Luke 2:10-11, which says: “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’”

Tebow became famous as a quarterback for the University of Florida not only for his stellar football skills but also for the unusual practice of writing a Bible verse on his eye black during every game. As the son of missionaries to the Philippines, Tebow said he views his time on the field as a platform to minister to boys and girls who look up to football players.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20101227/tim-tebow-moves-bible-verse-from-eye-black-to-wrist/


     SUPER BOWL XLV (45)
The game, to be played on Feb. 6, 2011, will pit the champions of the AFC and the NFC and will be held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Bowl_XLV


     LEADERS CANNOT AFFORD TO NEGLECT PLANNING
by John C. Maxwell
As a leader, you may be tempted to initiate action without taking the time to map out plans. After all, it feels unproductive to think about how to do something when you could simply roll up your sleeves and start making things happen. However, it's far less of an investment to prepare for a project in advance than to repair a project after it has gone awry.

In leadership, all is well that begins well. Leaders who carefully craft strategies enjoy success, while those who haphazardly race forward experience heartache.

Strategy functions as a leader's blueprint, playbook, or script. It aligns action and focuses energy toward a goal, preventing costly delays and wasted resources. By following a coherent strategy, leaders arrive at a predetermined destination instead of wandering in an uncertain direction.

These 9 simple steps outline the leadership planning process. I trust they will be beneficial to you as you make plans for a successful 2011.... Read this in full at
http://www.giantimpact.com/articles/read/leaders_cannot_afford_to_neglect_planning/


     ADVERSITY
More than 2,000 years ago, a young Greek artist named Timanthes studied under a respected tutor. After several years, the teacher's efforts seemed to have paid off when Timanthes painted an exquisite work of art. Unfortunately, he became so enraptured with the painting that he spent days gazing at it. One morning when he arrived to admire his work, he was shocked to find it blotted out with paint. Angry, Timanthes ran to his teacher, who admitted he had destroyed the painting. "I did it for your own good. That painting was retarding your progress." Timanthes took his teacher's advice and produced Sacrifice of Iphigenia, which is regarded as one of the finest paintings of antiquity.

Adversity in life is God's way of refining and beautifying our lives in His image. He is the Master Artist who constantly shapes the way He wants us to be. If you haven't been walking with God, He still loves you and wants you back. It is never too late for God to refinish the colors of your heart. If you are walking with God, take comfort because He promises to love you unconditionally.
(Turning Point Daily Devotional, 11/19/03)



     NFL STAR DANIEL SEPULVEDA: GOD HUMBLED ME
At one point, Pittsburgh Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda felt anger towards God thinking that his football dream may not come true after years of sleeping under an NFL banner over his bed. The NFL star recalls in “I Am Second” (http://www.iamsecond.com/) his younger years as a kid when he felt “God gave me passion for sports, and He made me good at it. I enjoyed being that kid who was the best at everything growing up.”

I thought it was me that was so fast. I thought it was me that was so coordinated. I thought that was about me … and that lasted through about seventh or eighth grade, and I was forced to grow up.”

While he was in high school he noticed a growth spurt in other athletes except himself and it made him question his faith. “I was frustrated. I didn’t have what I wanted. I was really questioning my faith.”.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20110104/nfl-star-daniel-sepulveda-god-humbled-me/


     FATHER, SON CHRISTIAN PUBLISHERS TRAVEL PARALLEL PATHS
The building at 600 Rinehart Road in Lake Mary speaks to the success and influence of Steve Strang. The circular glass entrance resembles the lobby of an upscale hotel trimmed in dark wood, polished stone and wine-colored furniture.

Strang's Christian publishing empire, which started with Charisma magazine 35 years ago, is very much a family business. Steve Strang is the CEO of the multi-media company that publishes magazines, newsletters, and books. His wife, Joy, is chief financial officer. Joy's sister is director of special events. Strang's 23-year-old son, Chandler, works in accounting.

The only one missing from Strang Communications is Cameron Strang, Steve's oldest son and publisher of Relevant, a magazine aimed at young evangelicals.... Read this in full at
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/seminole/os-strangs-christian-magazines-20101222,0,5446448.story


     THE 2011 BEST CHRISTIAN WORKPLACES IN THE US, CANADA AND AUSTRALIA
The following organizations have qualified as Best Christian Workplaces (http://www.bcwinstitute.com/default.aspx) due to high scores in the anonymous BCW employee engagement survey. The BCW survey has been conducted in the US and Canada for the past 8 years and made its debut in Australia this year -- surveying over 100,000 employees to date. Each of these organizations has a stated Christian mission and/or values.

The 2011 Certified Best Christian Workplaces in the US include:
American Bible Society
Apartment Life
Appalachian Bible College
Briarcrest Christian School
Coalition for Christian Outreach
Christian Heritage Academy
CRISTA Ministries
English Language Institute/China
InterVarsity Press
Joni & Friends
.... Read the complete list at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/2496415844.html


     JOHN PIPER GETS TO THE BOTTOM OF WHY PEOPLE LOVE GOD
Preacher and prolific writer John Piper asked a profound question Jan. 3: Do you feel more loved by God because He makes much of you or because He enables you to make much of Him?

The purpose of asking such a deep question to 22,000 university-age students at the Passion conference was to get at why they love God. If students respond they love God because He makes much of them, that is idolatry, said Piper. It means that they put themselves as the foundation of their joy.

Every joy has a foundation, a deeper reason why it brings joy, except one, he explained. This exception is the bottom, where there is no more underlying reason.

Why is getting to the bottom of our joys such a big deal to me?” asked Piper. “I believe that there are millions of people, many of them professing Christians, who are not born-again, believe God loves them, and are hell-bound," he said bluntly.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20110104/john-piper-gets-to-the-bottom-of-why-people-love-god/


     VERSE TO PONDER
"Stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow."
Isaiah 1:16-17



     CONSIDER
The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
Theodore M. Hesburgh



     THE RELIGIOUS COMPOSITION OF THE 112TH CONGRESS
Many analysts described the November 2010 midterm elections as a sea change, with Republicans taking control of the US House of Representatives and narrowing the Democratic majority in the Senate. But this political overhaul appears to have had little effect on the religious composition of Congress, which is similar to the religious makeup of the previous Congress and of the nation, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The 112th Congress, like the US public, is majority Protestant and about a quarter Catholic. Baptists and Methodists are the largest Protestant denominations in the new Congress, just as they are in the country as a whole.... Read this in full at
http://pewforum.org/Government/Faith-on-the-Hill--The-Religious-Composition-of-the-112th-Congress.aspx

See also “USA is Christian nation, Congress data shows” by Stephen Prothero,
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/07/my-take-u-s-is-christian-nation-congress-data-shows/


     ISLAMIC COUNTRIES DOMINATE OPEN DOORS 2011 WORLD WATCH LIST
Despite Communist North Korea topping the annual Open Doors World Watch List (WWL) for the ninth consecutive year, the most dangerous countries in which to practice Christianity are overwhelmingly Islamic ones.

Of the top 10 countries on the 2011 WWL, eight have Islamic majorities. Persecution has increased in seven of them. They are Iran, which clamps down on a growing house church movement; Afghanistan, where thousands of believers cluster deep underground; and Saudi Arabia, which still refuses to allow any Saudi person to convert to Christianity. Others are lawless Somalia, ruled by bloodthirsty terrorists threatening to kill Christian aid workers who feed Somalia's starving, impoverished people; tiny Maldives, which mistakenly boasts it is 100% Islamic; Yemen with its determination to expel all Christian workers; and Iraq, which saw extremists massacre 58 Christians in a Baghdad cathedral on Oct. 31. Of the top 30 countries, only seven have a source other than Islamic extremists as the main persecutors of Christians.

The top 10 in order are North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Maldives, Yemen, Iraq, Uzbekistan, and Laos, which has a Communist government. Iraq is new to the top 10 list while Mauritania dropped out, going from No. 8 to No. 13.... Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/202515847.html


     RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM TRENDS IN DECADES PAST AND FUTURE
by Robert Marus
The challenges surrounding the intersection of church, state and the freedom of conscience, according to experts in the field, were as old as the hills and as new as morning in the last decade. And while the details might differ, they say, the story arc will be similar in the decade that began Jan. 1.

Legal scholars and church-state activists consulted for this story said that there were significant changes -- for good and for ill -- in regard to both legal and cultural aspects of religious liberty in the United States in the last decade. For the future, they predicted continuing trends in five broad areas: the growth in religious diversity; the rising profile of non-believers; disputes over the role of Islam; emerging conflicts between religious freedom and gay rights; and perils posed by greater government support for religious institutions and fewer government protections for individuals’ and organizations’ free exercise of religion.... Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6013/53/


     CROSSWAY GIVES 50,000 BIBLES TO TROOPS
The publishing company Crossway has partnered with Faith Comes By Hearing to provide Scripture to military men and women stationed around the world. The company, which publishes the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible, donated 50,000 ESV New Testaments to Faith Comes By Hearing's Military BibleStick Project. The pocket-sized publication is packaged with Faith Comes By Hearing's Military BibleStick and shipped, free of charge, to chaplains who place a request for these ministry tools. "It is a special delight for Crossway to partner with Faith Comes By Hearing to provide the greatest gift we can give anyone -- God's Word," said Dr. Lane Dennis, president and publisher of Crossway. "It is our prayer that the Lord will use this gift to bring many in our armed services to know Christ as their Savior, even as they defend the freedom of the Gospel and our nation.".... Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/8567415829.html


     THINK--
Of stepping on shore and finding it Heaven;
Of taking hold of a hand and finding it God's hand;
Of breathing a new air and finding it celestial air;
Of feeling invigorated and finding it immortality;
Of passing from storm and tempest to an unbroken calm;
Of waking up, and finding it Home!
Robert E. Selle


     TECHNOLOGY UNITES MISSIONARIES, FAMILIES AROUND THE WORLD
Janine Winkler loves reading books to her 2-year-old grandson Judah, but instead of sitting on her lap at her home in Michigan, he's usually half a world away in Nigeria, where his father works for Wycliffe Bible Translators.

What connects them is Skype, the free online telephone and video service, that has made expensive phone calls and lengthy periods of no contact a distant memory for many missionaries abroad and their families back home.

"I've told people that I think God waited to send them until ... the technology got to where it was," said Winkler, who never had a camera on her computer or used Skype before her son left the country. "I couldn't imagine just waiting to get letters from them."

Missionaries say the new technology can bridge the thousands of miles between home and the mission field, often for free and in real time.

In a recent survey of more than 800 of its missionaries, Wycliffe found that about one-third use e-mail daily to communicate with family and friends back home. More than half said the Internet connections have made it possible for them to stay in the field longer.... Read this in full at
http://pewforum.org/Religion-News/RNS-Technology-unites-missionaries-families-around-the-world.aspx


     HERE COME THE ‘NONES’
by Bill Leonard
In a new book called American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, professors Robert Putnam (Harvard) and David Campbell (Notre Dame) survey major opinion polls related to religious life in America from the 1970s to the 2000s. At the heart of their large and significant work is their reflection on these current trends:

* American evangelicals, the nation’s largest religious segment, reached their statistical peak in the 1990s at around 28% of the population and are currently plateaued at 24%. Putnam and Campbell consider evangelicals to be related primarily to non-denominational churches, noting that if they had referred only to denominational evangelicals, “Baptists and the like,” the “decline of evangelical Protestants would have been sharper.”

* Catholics, the largest single religious tradition in the United States, represent some 20% of the population, but the Anglo element of that community shows dramatic decline. Attendance at weekly Mass has dropped significantly in the last 5-8 years.

* “Nones,” those who claim no religious affiliation or participation, are now the third-largest segment of the population, up from 7% a few years ago to around 17% in the latest polls.

* Mainline Protestant denominations continue to decline, now representing 13% of the population.

The “nones,” long present in American religious life, appear to be upping their profile. Some consider themselves “spiritual” non-participants, “believers but not belongers,” while others indicate that religion is simply not on their radar. Others have walked away from previous religious involvement even as they remain on the membership rolls of churches or other faith-based groups.... Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6002/9/


     GRASSLEY CONCLUDES SENATE PROBE OF 'PROSPERITY' TELEVANGELISTS
A Senate investigation into the spending of six televangelists concluded Jan. 6 with a list of concerns and a call for the formation of a federal advisory committee to ensure religious organizations comply with laws. According to the report, only two of the six ministries -- Joyce Meyer Ministries and Benny Hinn's World Healing Center Church -- fully cooperated with the investigation and even implemented financial reforms.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20110107/grassley-concludes-senate-probe-of-prosperity-televangelists/


     ANGER AT GOD COMMON, EVEN AMONG ATHEISTS
If you're angry at your doctor, your boss, your relative or your spouse, you can probably sit down and have a productive conversation about it. God, on the other hand, is probably not available to chat. And yet people get angry at God all the time, especially about everyday disappointments, finds a new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

It's not just religious folks, either. People unaffiliated with organized religion, atheists and agnostics also report anger toward God either in the past, or anger focused on a hypothetical image -- that is, what they imagined God might be like -- said lead study author Julie Exline, Case Western Reserve University psychologist.

In studies on college students, atheists, and agnostics reported more anger at God during their lifetimes than believers. A separate study also found this pattern among bereaved individuals. This phenomenon is something Exline and colleagues will explore more in future research, which is open to more participants.

It seems that more religious people are less likely to feel angry at God and more likely to see his intentions as well-meaning, Exline's research found.... Read this in full at
http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/01/anger-at-god-common-even-among-atheists/


     THE SEDUCTIVE, SUBVERSIVE WAY OF JESUS
by Christopher Robertson
A recent holiday experience reminded me how I’m starting to pay enough heed to my calling that it’s getting me in trouble. On Christmas day, a bunch of us packed in the car with family on our mind. Despite the snow, we drove to the nursing home to see my great-grandmother.

On our way, we passed through a neighborhood of big, beautiful homes that had each of us saying, “Look at that one!” Each house seemed to have a Christmas tree in the window and lights streaming to and fro outside. My Pawpaw leaned over and said to me, “You know. It won’t be long, and you could be living in one of these houses.”

Without hesitation I replied, “No, I won’t. I can’t be a follower of Jesus and live in a million-dollar house.” I’d thought similar things many times before, but this time I said it out loud. It became apparent to my family that I am beginning to take Jesus a little too seriously.

The message of Jesus has done something to me. I can’t drive through nice neighborhoods without thinking about ghettoes, slums, townships and favelas filled with impoverished, marginalized and hopeless people. The more I get to know Jesus, the harder it is getting for me to see things the same. I’m becoming quite peculiar, even to my family.... Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6009/9/


     TOP 10 RELIGION AND POLITICS RESEARCH FINDINGS FROM 2010 THAT WILL SHAPE OUR FUTURE
by Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute
The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) team put our heads together and posted our take on the top religion and politics research findings from the past year. These issues, prominent in 2010, are sure to be with us in the new year and into the 2012 campaigns.

1. Nearly half (47%) of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement also identify with the Christian right.

2. Pew found that nearly 1-in-5 (18%) Americans wrongly believe President Obama is a Muslim, and PRRI found a majority (51%) say his religious beliefs are different from their own.

3. 57% of Americans are opposed to allowing NY Muslims to build an Islamic center and mosque two blocks from ground zero, but 76% say they would support Muslims building a mosque in their local community if they followed the same regulations as other religious groups.... Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/pressreleases/top_10_religion_and_politics_research_findings_from_2010_that_will_shape_ou/


     11 FAITH-BASED PREDICTIONS FOR 2011
To open 2011, CNN's Belief Blog asked 10 religious leaders and experts - plus one secular humanist - to make a faith-based prediction about the year ahead. Here's what those in the know are predicting: .... Read this in full at
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/01/11-faith-based-predictions-for-2011/


     TEACHING VIRTUE AT THE MOVIES IN 2011
by David Gushee
It’s 2011, and the real problems of our real world will impinge soon enough. But for this one column I want to linger over four great movies that I experienced in the waning days of 2010 -- True Grit, The Fighter, The King’s Speech, and Black Swan. Undoubtedly each of these will be up for Academy Awards for their sheer artistic excellence. I want to comment on the way each of these narratives offers an account of moral virtue.

True Grit is certainly the only movie in living memory that starts with a biblical quotation and has a musical score drawn from old Baptist hymns like “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” This Western of fierce retribution and family honor is indeed one of the most explicitly religious major films in a long time. (If you leave out the Left Behind movies, or anything with Kirk Cameron in it.)

But this is a religiosity of law and retribution, of wrath and justice. This is eye-for-eye religion; it’s about the price in blood and sweat and risk one is obligated to pay to avenge the unjust death of a loved one. True Grit teaches the virtues of, well, true grit, courage and toughness and unflinching justice. And yet the score hits grace notes in the margins, perhaps a reminder that frontier religion mixed justice in the street with grace in the sanctuary, a paradigm that is still with us.... Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6005/9/


     ORAL ROBERTS UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT GOES 'FACE TO FACE' FOR A NEW TV SERIES
Oral Roberts University President Mark Rutland is interviewing top leaders in a new television series titled "Face to Face." This program will debut on January 13, 2011 at 6 pm Central Time online at www.goldeneagle.tv. The premier episode will feature James Robison, host of LIFE Today and founder of LIFE Outreach International.

In each 30-minute episode of "Face to Face," Rutland will interview prominent individuals -- industry leaders, ministers, writers, musicians -- and ask about their lives, how they arrived at their current position, and what their thoughts are on leadership, faith, culture, and other questions of the day.

Several episodes were shot last fall, featuring Robison, basketball coaching legend Eddie Sutton, author Stephen Mansfield, Mardel Christian and Education founder and ORU Board Chair Mart Green, author/speaker/ORU trustee and alumna Lynette Lewis, Relevant Media Group founder/CEO/ORU trustee and alumnus Cameron Strang, Building Community Institute founder Clifton Taulbert, author/speaker Simon T. Bailey, Victory Christian Center Senior Pastor Sharon Daugherty, daughter of Oral Roberts/ORU trustee and alumna Roberta Potts, ORU International Worship Center Director Wayne Lee, and Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris. The program is intended to stimulate thought and spur discussion while serving as a showcase for ORU.... Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/6198415849.html


     THE STATE OF THE NATION: ARE WE “APPROACHING SPIRITUAL DEATH”?
by John W. Whitehead
Fifty years ago, in his farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower cautioned the American people that they must remain alert and knowledgeable and guard against an expansion of America’s military empire -- a.k.a. the military industrial complex -- if they were to have any hope of maintaining the balance between liberty and security. To our detriment, we failed to heed Eisenhower’s warning.

Indeed, the state of our nation is at an all-time low -- morally, socially, economically and politically. And despite various and sundry protests, rallies, political upheavals, and wake-up calls of one kind or another, most Americans remain clueless, fixated on whatever fleeting news stories the talking heads on the 24-hour cable news channels spew forth and deem to be important. All the while, most are only vaguely cognizant that a sea change of events is transforming American culture and the freedoms we once cherished.... Read this in full at
http://www.rutherford.org/articles_db/commentary.asp?record_id=691


     HOW DISNEY MAGIC AND THE CORPORATE MEDIA SHAPE YOUTH IDENTITY IN THE DIGITAL AGE
by Henry Giroux and Grace Pollock
While the “empire of consumption” has been around for a long time, American society in the last 30 years has undergone a sea change in the daily lives of children -- one marked by a major transition from a culture of innocence and social protection, however imperfect, to a culture of commodification.

Youth are now assaulted by a never-ending proliferation of marketing strategies that colonize their consciousness and daily lives. Under the tutelage of Disney and other megacorporations, children have become an audience captive not only to traditional forms of media such as film, television and print, but even more so to the new digital media made readily accessible through mobile phones, PDAs, laptop computers and the Internet. The information, entertainment and cultural pedagogy disseminated by massive multimedia corporations have become central in shaping and influencing every waking moment of children's daily lives -- all toward a lifetime of constant, unthinking consumption.

Consumer culture in the United States and increasingly across the globe, does more than undermine the ideals of a secure and happy childhood: it exhibits the bad faith of a society in which, for children, “there can be only one kind of value, market value; one kind of success, profit; one kind of existence, commodities; and one kind of social relationship, markets.” But corporate-controlled culture not only exploits and distorts the hopes and desires of individuals: it is fundamentally driven toward exploiting public goods for private gain, if it does not also more boldly seek to privatize everything in the public realm.... Read this in full at
http://www.truth-out.org/how-disney-magic-and-corporate-media-shape-youth-identity-digital-age62008?


     CONSIDER
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
C. S. Lewis



     VERSE TO PONDER
"[God] has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
Micah 6:8



     THIS WEEK'S HYMN: STANDING AT THE PORTAL
Words: Frances R. Havergal, 1874
Music: Franz J. Haydn, 1775

Standing at the portal
Of the opening year,
Words of comfort meet us,
Hushing every fear;
Spoken thru the silence
By our Savior’s voice,
Tender, strong and faithful,
Making us rejoice.

Refrain
Onward, then, and fear not,
Children of the day;
For His Word shall never,
Never pass away.

I, the Lord, am with thee,
Be thou not afraid;
I will help and strengthen
Be thou not dismayed.
Yea, I will uphold thee
With My own right hand;
Thou art called and chosen
In My sight to stand.”
Refrain

For the year before us,
O what rich supplies!
For the poor and needy
Living streams shall rise;
For the sad and sinful
Shall His grace abound;
For the faint and feeble
Perfect strength be found.
Refrain

He will never fail us,
He will not forsake;
For His eternal covenant
He will never break.
Resting on the promise,
What have we to fear?
God is all sufficient
For the coming year.
Refrain

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/


     ON PRAYER
"Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God." Bob Pierce


     PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
http://christiansincrisis.net/


    
DAILY BLESSING PACT
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!

PERSONAL
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

FINANCIAL
Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Benefits
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Settlements
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.]


    
CLASSIFIEDS
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!
http://www.ChristianConnectionTravel.com

Books, Music & More!
http://www.ChristianConnectionBooks.com

Get your domain name here!
http://www.GoGlobalDomains.com

Let me show you how to earn money as you travel!
http://www.earnGlobalVacations.com/
It's as easy as 1-2-3!


    
SHARE YOUR FAVORITE WEBSITES
Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

Colorful photos of year-end celebrations around the world
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/12/a_new_year_rolls_in.html

Customized Bible Reading Plan
http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/

The Leadership App
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-leadership-app/id369415956?mt=8

Evangelicals for Social Action
https://evangelicalsforsocialaction.org/

PRISM magazine article: How to Save a Life
http://issuu.com/prismmagazine/docs/how_to_save_a_life?mode=embed&layout=http%3a%2f%2fskin.issuu.com%2fv%2fdarkicons%2flayout.xml&showFlipBtn=true

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.)


Bread is square. Why is sandwich meat round?
Min. Frank Coleman, Editor
Rev.frank@gmail.com


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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, frank@frankcoleman.com if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
Visit our website at: http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/  


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