man to man to God
week of March 6, 2011
weekly newsletter of Path
Of Life Ministries.
mission is to lead men to Jesus Christ and provide opportunity for
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not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and
vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up
for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not
destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where
your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
who cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he himself
Edward Herbert of Cherbury (1583-1648), The
Autobiography of Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, London: Walter
Scott, 1888, p. 40
PREPARATION FOR EASTER NOT JUST A 'CATHOLIC THING'
Robert Dilday & Ken Camp
Sunday -- the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ --
is for Christians the culmination of their community life,
expressing the heart of their faith. But among Baptists and other
evangelicals, an intentional period of preparation for their
holiest day is often understated or absent -- in contrast to
Christmas, the other great Christian observance, typically the
focus of elaborate church festivities for weeks prior to Dec. 25.
Baptists are seeking to reclaim that pre-Easter focus --
historically called Lent -- which has been an integral part of
many Christians’ experience since the earliest years of the
a biblical thing, not a made-up Catholic thing,” says Kyle
Henderson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Athens, Texas,
acknowledging a robust Baptist suspicion of spiritual practices
seen as too closely associated with the Roman Catholic Church or
its distant cousins, the Anglicans.... Read this in full at
LENT GETS A 21ST-CENTURY MAKEOVER
Janis Galvin fasting for Lent has long meant saying no to candy
for the 40 days before Easter. But when the season begins this
year on March 9, it's apt to mean something more: walking when
she'd rather drive, for instance, or turning the thermostat way
an Episcopalian, will join with about 1,000 others who've signed
up for the 2011 Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast, a daily regimen for
reducing energy consumption and fighting global warming.
is getting a makeover, especially in some Protestant traditions
where it hasn't always drawn strong interest. The carbon fast is
one of several initiatives aimed at reinvigorating Lent by linking
themes of fasting and abstention to wider social causes. "It's
exciting because it's not just suffering" for its own sake,
said Galvin, who lives in Everett, Mass. "It's doing good."
the first time, the United Methodist Church is urging its 7.8
million US members to refrain from drinking alcohol during
Lent.... Read this in full at
secular media in the USA imply that the world is largely dividing
between resurgent Islam and enlightened secularists, with isolated
evangelicals and Catholics left on the sideline. A recent report
by the International Bulletin of Missionary Research indicates
otherwise, with one third of the world professing Christianity,
virtually unchanged as a global percentage since 100 years ago.
Christians today are estimated to number about 2.3 billion. About
1.5 billion are estimated to attend church regularly at over 5
million congregations, up from 400,000 100 years ago.
are 1.6 estimated Muslims, 951 million Hindus, and 468 million
Buddhists. Atheists are thought to be 137 million, a declining
number. The report estimates about 80,000 new Christians every
day, 79,000 new Muslims every day, and 300 fewer atheists every
day. These atheists are presumably disproportionately represented
in the West, while religion is thriving in the Global South, where
charismatic Christianity is exploding. Over 600 million
Christians, including millions of Roman Catholics, are charismatic
Christians live has shifted dramatically of course. Once Christian
Europe is now largely secularized, while "heathen"
Africa is largely now either Christian or Islamic. China is on its
way to possibly becoming the nation with the most practicing
Christians. And Latin America has surging Catholic and evangelical
populations. Contrary to common assumptions, America remains about
as religious as ever. A 2008 Baylor University survey showed the
percentage of American atheists at about 4%, unchanged since 1944.
The survey also showed that only about 10% of Americans are
religiously unaffiliated, unlike the 15% or so claimed in other
recent surveys that claim growing secularization. Baylor found
that many "unaffiliated" are actually tied to
non-denominational churches or spiritual groups. Mainline
Protestantism continues its 45-year meltdown, with Americans less
and less identified with old denominations. But Americans by and
large are attending churches at about the same rate they have for
most of the last 70 years. About one third of Americans are now
evangelical. Fewer and fewer attend, or even have a cultural
memory of, oldline Episcopal or Presbyterian churches. Many
stately old urban sanctuaries sit empty, while nearby thriving
congregations meet in school gymnasiums or hotel ballrooms, if
they haven't already built a mega-church campus.... Read this in
SYMBOL AND CHRIST FOLLOWER
legend Jane Russell died Feb. 28 at age 89. She never intended the
former reputation — indeed, she even fought it — but
she was always serious about living her faith in Tinseltown.
was one of the most celebrated sex symbols of the 1940s —
and she was also a born-again Christian who hosted Bible studies
in her home.
Russell was only 19 years old when she signed a seven-year
contract with legendary movie mogul Howard Hughes, and she spent
most of those seven years waiting for her first film to be
released. The Outlaw was produced in 1941 and had a limited
release in 1943, but it didn't play to a wide audience until
1946—largely because of a controversy over the way the film
drew attention to Russell's figure.
second film, Young Widow, also came out in 1946, and after that,
she stayed fairly busy on the big screen until the late 1950s,
co-starring with the likes of Bob Hope (The Paleface), Roy Rogers
(Son of Paleface) and Marilyn Monroe (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) in
movies that capitalized not only on her appearance, but on her
spoke to Christianity Today Movies in 2009 by phone from her home
in the Santa Maria Valley in California.... Read this interview in
BLOG LAUNCHED IN RESPONSE TO BIBLICAL ILLITERACY
first-ever blog written entirely by seminary faculty was just
launched by Biola University's Talbot School of Theology. Thirty
professors have joined together to provide free education and a
public forum for those who cannot attend seminary. Updated daily,
the blog, titled The Good Book Blog (http://thegoodbookblog.com),
aspires to be a vital addition to the online evangelical
their expertise in areas like biblical studies, theology,
philosophy, spiritual formation, and Christian education, the 30
professors hope to serve others by giving of their resources and
combat biblical illiteracy which, according to research from The
Barna Group in 2010, is on the rise. With its goal of resourcing
the wider Christian world with the insights and scholarship of
Talbot professors such as author J.P. Moreland, professor of
spiritual formation Steve Porter, and author Clint Arnold, the
blog fits well with the mission of Talbot to train men and women
in the study of God's word for the service of his world.
a time when biblical literacy is at an all time low and there are
so many muddled, uninformed views of the Bible, something like The
Good Book Blog is such a breath of fresh air," said author of
Hipster Christianity and blogger Brett McCracken. "For a
seminary to take its vast academic resources and put it online for
the world's benefit is not only to be lauded, but it's to be
modeled. More schools should be doing things like this." ....
Read this in full at
AMERICAN BIBLE CHANGES SOME WORDS SUCH AS "HOLOCAUST"
new edition of one the most popular English-language Bibles will
offer substitutes for words such as "booty" and
"holocaust" to better reflect modern understanding.
Nearly 50 scholars from all faiths and a committee of Roman
Catholic bishops have labored since 1994 over the first fresh
edition of the New American Bible since 1970, the US Conference of
Catholic Bishops said.
annual best-seller to be issued by a dozen publishers beginning on
Ash Wednesday "is a beautiful translation -- it's a new way
to look at an old love," said Mary Sperry, who oversees Bible
licensing for the bishops.
changes go beyond a few words being altered, and include
freshly-written notes that should help readers better understand
the Catholic church's interpretation of biblical concepts, Sperry
said. The Book of Psalms contains over 70,000 words, both text and
notes, she said.
revisions more accurately reflect translations of ancient Hebrew
and Greek versions of the Old Testament and the constant evolution
of modern-day language, Sperry said. For example, the word
"holocaust," which for most people refers to the World
War Two genocide of Jews, was changed to "burnt offerings,"
which clarifies the original, positive idea of making offerings to
God.... Read this in full at
see “Translating the Bible is 'dangerous': Words have
THINGS I'VE LEARNED FROM 50 YEARS OF MINISTRY
Dr. Charles Swindoll
following excerpt is from a message delivered on Tuesday, March 1,
2011 at the NRB Convention in Nashville, TN (as compiled by Robert
I've learned that I should tell people how I feel about them now,
not later. Tomorrow may never come.
I've learned that things that I'm not even aware of are being
noticed and remembered by others.
I've learned that being real is better than looking religious.
Authenticity will keep you from a lot of problems.
I've learned that when you fit, things flow, and when they don't,
they have to be unnaturally forced. When God is in something there
is a flow. When I force things there is often an unsatisfying
I've learned that trying to persuade people into or out of a big
decision is a mistake.... Read this in full at
THE WHISTLE ON QUIET VIOLENCE
comes in obvious forms - in yellow and purple bruises and
shattered bones. We may recognize it in the harshness of words or
the impact of a clenched fist. Yet it is beastly and equally
harmful ... in its less dramatically obvious forms: in cruelty and
in crushing the confidence and self-respect rightfully carried by
then, what of carelessness, where the essence and spirit of a
human being are compromised and manipulated for our purposes?...
Is this not its own form of violence? ... [An] act we can inflict
on another even in the absence of evil motives.
is what we can do to another in romantic love when we try to make
them into something they are not, when we love them for our own
sake and not their sake ... It is also what we can do in the name
of ministry when we try to shape someone into God's calling on our
lives, into what we think she should be and because of what we
have done for her...
if we beat [those we serve] with our own reflection, even into the
worthy callings that God gave to us, what once carried potential
to be warm and glowing will instead become dull and colorless...
[Each of us] reflects something miraculous - a reflection of God
Naomi Zacharias in The Scent of Water: Grace
for Every Kind of Broken
GATHER AT FULLER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY IN PASADENA TO REMEMBER JOAN
AND SCOTT ADAM, WHO WERE KILLED BY PIRATES OFF THE COAST OF
before Scott and Jean Adam's yacht was hijacked by Somali pirates,
the couple told their friends in a monthly email that they were
about to approach the Horn of Africa but were traveling with a
large flotilla and didn't feel afraid of what lay ahead.
couple had been sailing around the world in their 58-foot yacht,
the Quest, for years and joked that they felt more at home on the
high seas — even with the risk of pirates — than in
their native Southern California.
spoke of the dangers of piracy that lay ahead and assured us they
were not taking any risks," said their friend Scott
Sternberg. "She said she was more afraid of driving on the
405 freeway. I only wish she'd been right."
see “Fuller President: We're Proud of Scott Adam's Christian
SHOULD STAND UP FOR THEIR BELIEFS
society regards Christians with scorn and is too ready to dismiss
believers as bigots who do not have a brain, according to the
Archbishop of Canterbury’s wife.
Williams, a theologian and teacher, said many Christians felt
uncomfortable talking about their beliefs and feared that doing so
was “not politically correct”. But “lazy”
and “scornful” attitudes towards people of faith in
Britain must be challenged, she said, urging Christians to be more
prepared to “argue our corner”.
Williams’s remarks come amid warnings from Church leaders
that the prevailing attitudes in politics and human rights law
discriminate against Christians.... Read this in full at
MIDEAST RELIGIOUS MINORITIES UNDER THREAT
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is warning that
Christians and other religious minorities are being targeted
across the Middle East and need protection as many flee their
homes to escape repression.
didn't say how many people are affected, but noted that sects in
several countries are experiencing more persecution. She told
lawmakers that attacks are on the rise against Christians and
minority Muslim sects from North Africa to South Asia.... Read
this in full at
LEADERS URGED TO RETHINK TWITTER ADVOCACY CAMPAIGNS
has played an increasing role in organizing revolution and
advocating for human rights, but sometimes the limelight doesn't
have the intended effect on the plight of oppressed believers. US
government officials and various, high-profile Christian leaders
met Mar. 2 for a private conversation about leveraging their
voices in social media campaigns.
leaders including Rick Warren and John Piper joined a Twitter
campaign in February to raise awareness about Afghan convert Said
Musa, who was awaiting execution. “There are some highly
volatile situations in the world – and Afghanistan being one
of them – where high public attention can actually be
detrimental to securing the outcome we want,” said one
Christian leader, who requested anonymity because he was not
authorized to speak about the talk. “So we have to, within
the Christian community, become more nuanced and informed and
interact with each other before making public statements and
campaign,” he said, noting that this includes all public
communication and not just Twitter.... Read this in full at
FOLLY OF ANSWERING FOOLS
Christopher B. Hays
beach novels (The Da Vinci Code) to photography (Andres Serrano's
"Piss Christ") to video games (keep reading), Christian
outrage and criticism have helped lift numerous works up from
obscurity—and made household names of their creators. It's
time to reassess.
our pop-cultural world, getting noticed is by far the most
difficult feat. Any author who monitors his or her Amazon sales
rankings can attest as much. Blogs and tweets and vanity
presses—which once were supposed to empower the talented but
voiceless—have instead created a cacophony from which
scarcely any influential voices emerge.
easy way for an author to break out is to offend Christians —
easier, apparently, than writing something beautiful or
profound.... Read this in full at
DODGERS PITCHER MEASURES SUCCESS GOD’S WAY
was the youngest starting pitcher in Dodgers history, which led to
some difficult moments for a fresh-faced kid with high ideals who
learned to measure success God’s way.
was drawn to God,” says Joe Moeller, who played for the
Dodgers between 1962 and 1971 and now is an advance scout for the
felt God’s tug on the heart from his earliest days. At only
8-years-old, he snuck out of his house in Manhattan Beach on
Sunday mornings to attend a small church down the street. “My
parents had no idea I did that,” he says.
his mother was a Christian Scientist, his hardworking parents
slept late on Sunday mornings and showed little interest in
church. “My dad didn’t believe in anything,” he
says.... Read this in full at
Precious Lord, Take my Hand (And Help Me Get Up)
It is Well with My Soul (but my back hurts)
Nobody Knows the Trouble I have Seeing
Amazing Grace (Considering My Age)
Just a Slower Walk With Thee
Count Your Many Birthdays, Name Them One by One
Go Tell It on the Mountain (And Speak Up)
Give Me that Old Timers Religion
Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah (I’ve forgotten where I
temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man. And God
is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can
bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so
that you can endure it."
1 Corinthians 10:13
your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more,
and become more, you are a leader.”
John Quincy Adams
BELL'S UPCOMING BOOK ON HEAVEN & HELL STIRS BLOG, TWITTER
BACKLASH ON UNIVERSALISM
Hill pastor Rob Bell drew significant attention on Twitter and
blogs today after Justin Taylor penned a blog post titled "Rob
Bell: Universalist?" on Bell's upcoming book Love Wins: A
Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever
vice president of editorial at Crossway, has not seen Bell's book
(though he read some chapters that were sent to him), but he
expressed concern with a video. "[T]his video from Bell
himself shows that he is moving farther and farther away from
anything resembling biblical Christianity," Taylor wrote.
pointed to the publishers' description of the book, which does not
come out until March 29 from HarperOne. "With searing
insight, Bell puts hell on trial, and his message is decidedly
optimistic — eternal life doesn’t start when we die;
it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins," part of the
description states.... Read this in full at
see “Christian author's book sparks charges of heresy”
“Heaven, Hell, and Rob Bell: Putting the Pastor in Context”
“Waiting for Rob Bell” blog post by Scot McNight
PUSH BACK ON PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS
the federal budget at the expense of the poor would be
un-Christian, evangelical leaders warned Congress March 3 as they
work to reject proposed spending cuts to domestic and foreign aid.
Bible says that God has a special concern for the poor," said
Ron Sider, president of the group Evangelicals for Social Action.
"This is one of the central biblical teachings."
evangelical leaders, convened by the left-leaning group Faith in
Public Life, face an uphill challenge in trying to win over fellow
evangelicals: a recent poll found that evangelicals are more
likely than Americans overall to support cutting foreign aid while
also supporting increased military spending.... Read this in full
CAMPUS MINISTRIES SIGN AGREEMENT
Christian ministries that work on U.S. college campuses have
established a new standard of cooperation and mutual respect for
their work with college students and faculty. Meeting in a Chicago
suburb last October, leaders of the ministries agreed to 8 basic
points of unity in mission aimed at keeping their work on campus
cooperative rather than competitive.
meeting was held at the offices of InterVarsity Press in Westmont,
Illinois. The "Chicago Agreement" (The Chicago Agreement
is posted online at:
as it is called, is an update of an earlier agreement forged
between leaders of Campus Crusade for Christ, Navigators, Young
Life, and InterVarsity, in 1971.... Read this in full at
LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM RECEIVES REEL ROSE AWARD BEST DOCUMENTARY
Town of Bethlehem (http://littletownofbethlehem.org/),
from EthnoGraphic Media (EGM) has been awarded the 2011 Reel Rose
Award for Best Documentary Film at the John Paul II International
Film Festival. This distinguished film festival, held in south
Florida, is modeled after the artistic and humanitarian ideas of
the late pope and themed The Mystery of Love.
are humbled to receive this honor," states Little Town of
Bethlehem film director Jim Hanon. "Just knowing that we were
selected out of a multitude of submissions from around the world
is very encouraging." Produced by Mart Green and directed by
Jim Hanon, this full-length documentary shares the gripping story
of three men -- a Palestinian Muslim, a Palestinian Christian, and
an Israeli Jew -- each born into violence but willing to risk
everything to bring an end to violence in their lifetime. Little
Town of Bethlehem was filmed on location in the West Bank, Tel
Aviv, and Jerusalem with a hope to bring awareness to a growing
nonviolent movement in the Holy Land that rarely, if ever, makes
international headlines. "This kind of recognition for a
story that is about a crucial issue of our time is encouraging. As
one of the films that brings a message of hope to a world
conflict, we believe peaceful solutions may be found."
comments EGM president Bill Oechsler.... Read this in full at
DO SO MANY AMERICANS SUPPORT SAME-SEX 'MARRIAGE'?
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
does same-sex "marriage" make sense to so many people?
The momentum toward the full legalization of same-sex "marriage"
seems to intensify with every passing month -- or even faster. The
moral divide in this nation is now seen most clearly in the
distance between those for whom marriage is exclusively
heterosexual and thus a settled issue and, on the other hand,
those who honestly see the legalization of same-sex "marriage"
as a moral mandate required by justice.
the venerable status of marriage and its universally established
heterosexual character -- at least until very recently -- the
burden of argument falls on the need to explain how such a
movement for a moral revolution gained credibility, cultural mass
and momentum. How did this happen?
culture does not consist only of ideas and ideologies, but no
culture exists without them. Given the complexity of any culture,
a comprehensive map of these ideas, moral intuitions and
philosophies is impossible to create. Nevertheless, some patterns
are clear enough. We can trace the acceptance of same-sex
"marriage" to at least three major ideas that have been
shaping the modern mind for some time -- and are held to some
extent by both social liberals and conservatives.... Read this in
ORGANIZES APRIL 10 LAZARUS SUNDAY IN CHURCHES NATIONWIDE
the global grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization
working to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease, is
inviting churches nationwide to participate in Lazarus Sunday on
April 10 in an effort to bring awareness of HIV/AIDS and the
term coined by medical professionals, government officials,
business leaders and others, the "Lazarus Effect" refers
to the 180-degree turn-around that individuals dying from AIDS
experience when they are given access anti-retroviral (ARV)
treatments. Individual treatments cost about 40 cents a day and
produce results within 40 days.... Read this in full at
ANCIENT COLOR IS RECLAIMING ISRAELI INTEREST
of the mysteries that scholars have puzzled over for centuries is
the exact shade of blue represented by “tekhelet,”
which the Bible mentions as the color of ceremonial robes donned
by high priests and ritual prayer tassels worn by the common
was known about tekhelet (pronounced t-CHELL-et) was that the
Talmud said it was produced from the secretion of the sea snail,
which is still found on Israeli beaches.
interpretations have characterized tekhelet as a pure blue,
symbolic of the heavens so that Jews would remember God. Not so,
according to an Israeli scholar who has a new analysis: tekhelet
appears to have been closer to a bluish purple.... Read this in
WIESENTHAL CENTER LAUDS POPE BENEDICT XVI'S ABSOLVING JEWISH
COLLECTIVE GUILT FOR THE DEATH OF JESUS
Simon Wiesenthal Center applauds Pope Benedict XVI's forceful
arguments against collective Jewish responsibility for the
Crucifixion in his new book, Jesus of Nazareth—Part II,
released Mar. 2.
is a critically important and timely statement by his Holiness,
particularly at a time of increased mainstream anti-Semitism
around the world," declared Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Center's
Founder and Dean who has led numerous delegations to Vatican City
and had audiences with Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor Pope
John Paul II. "As I told his Holiness during our November
2005 meeting at the Vatican, "Prior to (The Nostra Aetate),
Jews were often held in contempt and derided as an accursed
people. Millions suffered through the ages because there were none
to defend them." .... Read this in full at
ADS: YOU CAN LIVE MORAL, MEANINGFUL LIVES WITHOUT GOD
humanist group has launched a multimedia ad campaign, declaring
that atheists and the nonreligious can live good, meaningful lives
without God. "You don't need God – to hope, to care, to
love, to live," the ad states.
campaign is sponsored by the Center for Inquiry, an Amherst,
N.Y.-based organization whose mission is to foster a secular
society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist
president and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay said the ads are aimed at
dispelling some myths about the nonreligious. "One common
myth is that the nonreligious lead empty, meaningless, selfish,
self-centered lives. This is not only false, it’s
ridiculous," he said in a statement. "Unfortunately, all
too many people accept this myth because that's what they hear
about nonbelievers." CFI asserts that nonreligious people can
find meaning in a life that is human-centered, and that reliance
on the supernatural is unnecessary.... Read this in full at
leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
John C. Maxwell
everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become
blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a crooked
and depraved generation.' Then you will shine among them like
stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life."
WEEK'S HYMN: I LOVE YOU, CHRIST, MY CRUCIFIED
Eric Schumacher, circa 2004
William Gardiner, 1815
the redeeming agony
suffered there on Calvary,
blood You shed and tears You cried,
love You, Christ my crucified.
for Your bruised and bludgeoned frame
bore my every sin and shame
You for me did take and die,
love You, Christ my crucified.
for the faithful love You showed,
with abundant grace once flowed
of Your opened hands and side,
love You, Christ my crucified.
You, my King, would suffer scorn
a crown of twisted thorn,
in this rebel’s grave go lie,
love You, Christ my crucified.
hearing how You left the grave
and ever strong to save,
then ascended as the sun,
love You, Christ my risen one.
when I see you, risen King,
do none else but fall to sing
with my all let this strain rise:
love You, Christ my glorified.
insists that we ask, not because He needs to know our situation,
but because we need the spiritual discipline of asking.”
FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother
or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.
agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake
God and man
Be in God’s will
Raises or bonuses
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Bills decrease while blessings increase
all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou
shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God" (Deut.
[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
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time I hear that dirty word, "exercise," I wash out my
mouth with chocolate.
Frank Coleman, Editor
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is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations,
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