Connecting man to man to God
For week of January 16, 2011
Issue 339

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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"Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it."
Psalm 34:14

The law is for the self-righteous, to humble their pride: the gospel is for the lost, to remove their despair.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), All of Grace, New York: R. Carter, 1886, p. 14

Denominations share theological, organizational and legal ties. They send out missionaries; build colleges, seminaries and hospitals; and fund pension plans for pastors. The past 40 years have been tough on them. Mainline Protestants such as Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Methodists peaked in membership at the end of the 1960s. Last year, 21 of the top 25 denominations either lost members or remained stagnant, according to the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches. Some decline is because of aging church members and fewer babies, but some is due to losing members to nondenominational churches.... Read this in full at

by Bob Hyatt
For seven years now, as I have labored to plant, grow, and guide a church, Starbucks has been my office, my meeting space, my cafeteria, and my retreat. I’m there most work days, and I’m even there most days off to get some reading or writing time in away from the house. Yeah — if Starbucks disappeared, I’d notice.

At times Starbucks has been more than a coffee shop for me. Much more.

I was in my regular Starbucks the other morning before sunrise, trying to get a little quiet time before some guys I meet with arrived to talk about Jesus, their lives, what they are hearing from God, and what it looks like to respond. Normally I put headphones on so I can focus. But this morning it was quiet and the house music was better than just good. It was Christmas carols, actually, and not the “Santa Baby” kind — they were playing the great robust hymns we get to hear each year at this time that invite us to hail the Incarnate Deity in whom God and sinners find reconciliation. Sitting there reading the Scriptures and praying, the words of those songs filtered in and through me and lifted my soul to worship Jesus, the coming King.

As I listened and worshipped, I found myself reflecting on all the spiritually significant moments I’ve experienced in what I sometimes call St. Arbucks.... Read this in full at

Take the stories of [three] average people in the Bible. These unremarkable people put what little they had at the disposal of the Savior, but the impact of their contributions exceeded those of any member of who's who in [ministry] today.

There was the teenage girl who was asked by God to offer up her womb. He just needed it for nine months. It almost cost her a fiancé. It surely cost her good reputation. But the world was in desperate need of a Savior, so this teenage girl with no social pedigree said yes and, in the process, became one of the most revered women in history.

There was a boy with a meager lunch who handed it over to a man who had the recipe for the bread of life. His average offering was turned into a feast that guaranteed that none of the five thousand people around him went home hungry.

Then there was the ordinary businessman who offered his own burial tomb -- a man-made cave in the side of a hill -- to a crucified Redeemer. That hole in the rock became the staging area for His transformation into the resurrection and the life. He can do the same with you in spite of how ‘ordinary’ your life seems to you.

Ordinary people? There’s really no such thing. Each of us is created in the image of the God of the universe. Each of us carries the capacity to one day have all our ordinariness peeled away like a threadbare thrift store shirt, revealing the glorious perfection of what God intended us to be all along. In His eyes, there are no ordinary people.”
Dr. Tim Kimmel in his book In Praise of Plan B: Moving from "What Is" to "What Can Be,"

In the military, the chaplain serves as both a religious leader and a listener - ideally one who can assist military personnel of all faiths. A frequent refrain among chaplains is "chaplain to all, pastor to some."

But according to Department of Defense data, the nation's corps of chaplains leans heavily toward evangelical Christianity, failing to mirror the military it serves.

While just 3% of the military's enlisted personnel and officers call themselves Southern Baptist, Pentecostal or a member of a denomination that's part of the National Association of Evangelicals, 33% of chaplains in the military are members of one of those groups, according to Pentagon statistics.

And the disparity could soon widen. Data from the Air Force indicate that 87% of those seeking to become chaplains are enrolled at evangelical divinity schools.... Read this in full at

Millenials, those born between 1980 and 2000, are not anti-Christian or anti-religion, but they are, in general, just not interested in religion, says a new book based on a survey of members of this generation.

An apathetic attitude toward religious and spiritual matters is common among members of this generation, according to The Millennials by Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Research, and his son Jess, a Millenial born in 1985. Members of this generation are likely to care less about spiritual matters than those from previous generations, the Rainers wrote.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of this generation rarely or never attend religious services, according to the survey conducted by LifeWay on 1,200 Millenials. And spiritual matters was ranked sixth, below friends and education, in a list based on an open-ended question on what is important to respondents.... Read this in full at

Simon Schrock recalls visiting Dulles International Airport with his daughter many years ago and being shocked to see Playboy magazines sold at one of its newsstands.

"She pointed at Playboy and said, 'Oh, Daddy, look there,'" said Schrock, 74. "I said, 'I'm concerned where this is going. What's it doing to the nation? What's it doing to young people?'"

So Schrock got involved. In 1968, the journeyman carpenter and part-time Anabaptist preacher persuaded a newsstand at National Airport to add 10 Christian titles to its racks. By the 1970s, he was selling 600 books every two weeks, he said.

By the 1980s, he'd helped found Choice Books, a Harrisonburg, Va.-based company that describes itself as a distributor of "inspirational, wholesome and family-oriented reading materials." Today, with eight offices stretching from the Great Lakes to the Gulf states and Northern Virginia, the company sells about 8,000 books a day, Schrock said -- more than 5 million books a year through more than 10,000 kiosks at highway rest stops, drugstores, department stores and airports.

In a struggling book industry, faith-based books are a thriving, billion-dollar business, distributors said.... Read this in full at

by John Piper
Jonathan Edwards once said that godly people can, as it were, smell the depravity of an act before they can explain why it evil. There is a spiritual sense that something is amiss. It does not fit in a world permeated with God.

Ephesians 5:3 says that some things "are not fitting" among saints." "Fitting-ness" is not always easy to justify with arguments. You discern it before you can defend it. That's good, because we have to make hundreds of choices every day with no time for extended reflection.

But from time to time we need to pause and give rational, biblical expression why something is not fitting. Some years ago I came to that point when, week after week, a local newspaper put scantily clad women on the second page of Section A in order to sell underclothes. I wrote a letter to the paper with nine reasons why they should stop using this kind of advertising.

Perhaps my reflections will help you deal with the hundreds of abuses of God's good gift of sexuality in our culture. Here is what I wrote.... Read this in full at

1 – Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law Leads to Murder, Death Penalty for the Innocent
2 – Christians Increasingly Targeted in Iraq
3 – Afghan Christian Accused of ‘Apostasy’ Faces Death Sentence.... Read this in full at

Pledging to lose 90 pounds in 2011, Pastor Rick Warren hosted three renowned health experts at Saddleback Church to help launch a 52-week church-wide fitness plan.

Dr. Daniel Amen, a bestselling author and clinical professor of psychiatry at UC Irvine, Dr. Mark Hyman, an expert in metabolism, and Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the Dr. Oz Show and cardiac surgeon, will help Warren kick off the Daniel Plan ( – based on Daniel:1, in which the prophet Daniel opts for healthy foods instead of rich indulgences.

The plan is part of Saddleback's Decade of Destiny — the church's sixth faith-raising plan to expand the ministry through building construction and services. Warren is including a personal growth plan over 10 years to equip parishioners to succeed in seven key areas: spiritual, physical, financial, relational, vocational, emotional, and mental... Read this in full at

The world's opposition is strong and subtle. And behind these things stands the devil, bent on 'taking men alive' and keeping them prisoner. For the devil hates the gospel and uses all his strength and cunning to obstruct its progress, now by perverting it in the mouths of those who preach it, now by frightening them into silence through persecution or ridicule, now by persuading them to advance beyond it into some fancy novelty, now by making them so busy with defending the gospel that they have no time to proclaim it.”
John R. W. Stott (b. 1921), Guard the Gospel; the Message of 2 Timothy, Downers Grove, Ill., Inter Varsity Press, 1973, p. 126

Philip Yancey has been a leading evangelical journalist for more than 30 years, writing books such as Where Is God When It Hurts? had the chance to speak with Philip regarding his most recent book, What Good Is God?
Q: The book involves your personal interaction with some big events both in the U.S. and around the world, right?
A: Yes. The book covers 10 separate locations, with 2 chapters devoted to each location. For instance, I start off by describing the time I was supposed to speak at a meeting in Mumbai, India, as part of book tour. But that happened to be the night that terrorists attacked ten different sites and killed 175 people. The meeting was canceled, but a smaller group got together in a church nearby—shocked, grieving, upset people. And I was put in front of them and asked to address the question: How should we respond? Help us make sense of what's going on.

And in less dramatic ways that happened ten different times at ten different locations. In the first chapter of each location I tell the story behind the story, and the second chapter contains what I actually said to the people who were gathered... Read this in full at

The Passion conference is more than just a huge gathering of college-age kids, organizers say.  the recent Atlanta conference was a call for the next generation to make Jesus a focal point in their lives and to share that passion with others, they said.

"Church was never meant to be an island of self-indulgence, but a missional community of Jesus-followers so in love with Him that they can do nothing else but carry His name to the world," pastor Louie Giglio said in an e-mail.

The event drew more than 22,000 students to the Georgia capital's convention center and to Philips Arena. It was even more successful than Giglio had hoped for.... Read this in full at

See also: “Francis Chan Shares Details of Asia Trip at Passion”

by Eric Metaxas
In the first months of Nazi rule, many in the church were confused about how to respond to the sweeping changes. What can we learn from the way Dietrich Bonhoeffer courageously addressed them?.... Read this in full and watch the video at

Few nations keep their vows when it comes to religious freedom. Churches are attacked on Christmas in India and Egypt. Religious believers in North Korea are tortured in prison camps. Hindus and Sikhs are harassed in Afghanistan.

"Despite routine constitutional promises to the contrary, religious freedoms are denied around the globe and violent persecution is pervasive," Brian Grim of the Pew Research Center and Roger Finke of Pennsylvania State University report in a new book.

Yet even amid this widespread disregard for religious freedom, one group of countries stands out: Muslim-majority nations.... Read this in full and watch the video at

Research and surveys show that many atheists, agnostics, and spiritual-seekers who lack religious affiliation are former Christians. But there was no research-based book that explained in depth why people were leaving, until Generation Ex-Christian.

The recently released book by Drew Dyck, editorial manager of the ministry team at Christianity Today International, breaks down “leavers” into six categories: postmodern leavers, recoilers, modern leavers, neo-pagans, rebels, and drifters. These categories were formed after Dyck interviewed nearly 100 people while researching for the book.

I’m not a sociologist or statistician, but I knew as a journalist I could bring something to this issue by introducing people to some of the faces and the stories behind the statistics,” said Dyck to The Christian Post. “And just providing profiles of these, what I call ‘leavers,’ these 20-somethings and early-30s that have walked away from the faith. And then provide some kind of tips on how to engage them in meaningful conversations about God that will ultimately lead them back.”.... Read this in full at

If the Christian life were an equation -- Problem + Solution = Happiness -- we would have solved it long ago. But we haven't. All the self-help programs that advertise a better life in six easy steps, or thirty days to a new you, or ten habits that will change you forever are trying to solve the problem that you think you are. They are trying to grant you happiness through an equation...

We witness to people using the same equation. ‘You have a problem. If you accept the solution, you'll be happy...’

But humans are not math problems. We don't get ‘solved’ when we get saved - if we did, there would be no unhappy Christians. Problem + Solution = Happiness just doesn't work with anything dynamic and alive, such as you and me...

God didn't solve us -- he saved us. We are his art. He has thrown us on the wheel and wrapped his hands around the wet clay of our lives. He redeemed us so he could remake us...

We are meant to be beautiful -- and we will be, in God's hands. Our enemy would like us to keep believing in equations. Satan loves math because when we calculate the value of our lives, we always come up short. But God doesn't measure us that way. As with all art connoisseurs, the worth of his art is in the price he is willing to pay for it. He gave the very life of his Son to redeem and remake us!”
Bob Kilpatrick and Joel Kilpatrick in their book The Art of Being You: How to Live as God's Masterpiece

Larry Mayfield experienced a grand mal seizure on December 15, 2010, on his way to accompany the choir rehearsal at Trinity United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro, TN. He died on Monday, December 20, 2010, at the age of 66. A service celebration his life was held on December 29, 2010, at the Brentwood Baptist Church and attended by hundreds of friends, family and appreciative musicians.

Throughout his long music career he wrote music and arrangements for the Benson Company, Word, Brentwood Music, Provident, Lillenas, Gaither Music, Glory Sound, Shawnee Press, Hal Leonard, Hope Publishing, LifeWay, Broadman Press, Lexicon, Re-Generation Music, Star Song, Good Life, Lorenz, FourMost, Zondervan, and Singspiration. His recordings were done in famous recording studios in Los Angeles, Chicago, London, and Nashville with many of the great engineers.... Read this in full at

Give to Street People? Don't.” by Ron Sider

Give to Street People? Only as a Last Resort.” by Andy Bales

Give to Street People? Freely.” by Gary Hoag

"Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-

"A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."
John Shedd

The British branch of the YWCA has dropped “Christian” from its official name because it “no longer stood for what we are or what we do,” the women's charity has announced.

After 155 years, the Young Women’s Christian Association will now be known as Platform 51, the charity says in an announcement carried on its website.

The organization said its new name “more accurately represents what we are or what we do -- 51 percent of people are female, and girls and women use us as a platform to have their say.”

There was no immediate indication that the YWCA’s male counterpart, the Young Men’s Christian Association, or YMCA, was considering a similar name switch in the area. Last summer, the US branch of the YMCA decided to rebrand itself as simply the “Y,” although officially it still identifies itself as the YMCA.... Read this in full at

by Cathleen Falsani
A little more than 30 years before the release of True Grit, the 15th film from brother-filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, the younger sibling, Ethan, wrote his senior thesis for Princeton University on the works of the Austrian philosopher Ludgwig Wittgenstein.

One of Wittgenstein's major areas of philosophical concern was religion and religious ideas, examining how people believe and express those beliefs in the way they define themselves and orient their lives.

While it most assuredly would be a leap of faith to claim that Ethan Coen's 1979 college study of Wittgenstein directly shaped the making of True Grit, which the Coen brothers jointly directed and adapted for the screen from its original source, the 1968 novel by Charles Portis, hints of the philosopher's take on religiosity float through the stellar film like tumbleweeds.... Read this in full at

The Civility Project, a two-year bipartisan attempt to get politicians and others to respect one another, is closing down after just three members of Congress agreed to the project's pledge. "You three were alone in pledging to be civil," Christian publicist Mark DeMoss wrote in a Jan. 3 letter announcing an end to the two-year project. "I must admit to scratching my head as to why only three members of Congress, and no governors, would agree to what I believe is a rather low bar." The three who had agreed were Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., and Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. The announcement comes at a time when politicians, clergy and commentators have stressed the need for civility following Jan. 8 deadly shootings in Tucson, Ariz., which left six people dead and 14 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head.... Read this in full at

A vital difference exists between healthy and unhealthy guilt. Healthy guilt motivates us to amend relationships, make things right, and move toward health. It is focused on others more than on oneself. Unhealthy guilt often results in self-hatred. We condemn ourselves. We refuse to believe we can ever be accepted.

Shame debilitates. When I meet someone who wrestles with unhealthy guilt and forgiveness, I counsel them to read Psalm 51, which records David's prayer for forgiveness after committing the sins of adultery, murder, lying, and covering up. I challenge each person to read it and ask for forgiveness. Once finished, I tell them, ‘Don't ever ask God to forgive you for that sin again.’ For people who wrestle with shame, a pattern forms to bring up the same sins over and over again. I share what the Bible says: ‘He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west’ (Ps. 103:12 NLT). God has removed our sins from us as far as it is possible.

Confession of sin, of course, is healthy and a necessary part of daily biblical practice. However, constant confession of the same sin inhabits unbelief and not true confession, and the person is often left paralyzed on the road out to freedom.

If unhealthy guilt weighs you down read Romans 8 every day for the next two weeks. Really let the content sink into your life. I believe you will experience God's forgiveness anew: ‘So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death’ (Rom. 8:1-2 NLT).”
Jud Wilhite in the book Throw It Down: Leaving Behind Behaviors and Dependencies That Hold You Back

by Jon Acuff
You might soon hear a sermon about Ted Williams, the “Homeless Man with Golden Pipes.” That story is amazing. You can’t help but cry while watching the video of a man on the streets get his second shot as a radio personality.

We Christians loved Williams’ story, especially when we saw him deliver what was essentially a sermon in some of his interviews. He talked repeatedly about how it was God who kept him going. Here are the three sermons you should expect to hear about Ted Williams.... Read this in full at

by Mark I. Pinsky
In the Gospel of Luke, early Christians are urged to "invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind" (14:13) to their gatherings. But how far can — or should — modern religious congregations go to accommodate people with physical or intellectual disabilities?

With the Baby Boom generation about to age into infirmity, and wounded war veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in growing numbers, the issue of worshippers with disabilities will very soon overwhelm ethical and theological abstraction.

But half the congregations in the USA have fewer than 100 members— many in small towns and rural areas — which means the financial cost of adjusting their structures, Sunday schools and weekly services for one or two hearing-impaired or autistic or wheelchair using members can be a challenge. Building a ramp out of plywood is one thing; installing an elevator is quite another.... Read this in full at

by Dr. Douglas Fields
The latest scientific research backs up with detailed molecular and cellular mechanisms what we always knew intuitively; that through adolescence, the human brain is molded by the social environment in which a child is reared. A disrespectful, stressful social environment is a neurotoxin for the brain and psyche, and the scars are permanent.

One can debate how accurately television entertainment reflects reality, but there is no doubt that it represents the ideals of the time. Commercial art and entertainment always reflect and reinforce a society's values, as the public buy it (literally) because they value it. There is no doubt that American society has changed dramatically with respect to manners and social discourse in a generation. The "Leave It to Beaver" model of American polite society in the 1950s and early 1960s is gone. Those black-and-white sitcoms have been supplanted today by garish reality television programs that showcase domestic and social interactions driven by narcissism, factionalism, competition, and selfishness.... Read this in full at

Since more and more seniors citizens are texting and tweeting, there appears to be a need for a STC (Senior Texting Code). If you qualify for senior discounts, these are the codes for you:
ATD: At The Doctor's
BFF: Best Friend Farted
BTW: Bring The Wheelchair
BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM: Covered By Medicare
CUATSC: See You At The Senior Center
DWI: Driving While Incontinent
FWB: Friend With Beta Blockers
FWIW: Forgot Where I Was
FYI: Found Your Insulin
GGPBL: Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
GHA: Got Heartburn Again
IMHO: Is My Hearing-Aid On?
LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL: Living On Lipitor
LWO: Lawrence Welk's On
OMMR: On My Massage Recliner
OMSG: Oh My! Sorry, Gas.
ROFL... CGU: Rolling On The Floor Laughing...Can't Get Up
TTYL: Talk To You Louder
WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?
WTP: Where's The Prunes?
WWNO: Walker Wheels Need Oil
GGLKI: Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking In

"The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick along side it."
D. L. Moody

"Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts."
Amos 5:14-15

Words: Frances R. Havergal, 1874
Music: Samuel S. Wesley, 1864

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee.

>from NetHymnal at

By my definition, prayer is consciously hanging out with God. Being with God in a deliberate way.”
Malcolm Boyd


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.

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(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 told my family I never want to depend on a machine and fluids to keep me alive...that's when they took away my computer and coffee maker!
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.
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