Connecting man to man to God
For week of March 13, 2011
Issue 347

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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"Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."
Galatians 5:16

Scripture is there to be a means of God’s action in and through us — which will include, but go far beyond, the mere conveying of information.”
N. T. Wright, Scripture and the Authority of God

by Bonnie McMaken
Before I went to college, I had a cloudy understanding of Lent. I knew it involved giving something up. Usually chocolate. Not my idea of a good time. But beyond believing that it was legalistic—and maybe even a little masochistic — I didn't know much.

My Lenten ignorance ceased my sophomore year when I started attending a church that observed Lent. So in the name of "taking one for the team," I decided to give up—you guessed it—chocolate. I, with my penchant for melodrama, braced myself for a stark and thorny 40-day journey. I survived.

My faith was not profoundly altered during that Lenten season. I didn't experience moments of sublime communion with Christ. But something small emerged from my heart. Weakness.

Not from hunger or emotional trauma or exhaustion. I have rarely known weaknesses such as these. This was a weakness that grew out of a simple act: My feeble hands trembling, I gave God this sapling of an offering. Just chocolate. But something that I wanted, that I could no longer control.... Read this in full at

More and more local churches say they don't like the movies that Hollywood has been releasing, so they are making their own. Religion & Ethics TV correspondent Kim Lawton reports on this new trend and the potential pitfalls surrounding it.... Read this in full at

by Terry Mattingly
When searching for big ideas, a Hollywood screenwriter can't dig much deeper than "The Epic of Gilgamesh." This collection of Sumerian legends is at least 4,000 years old and is among the world's earliest known stories. Yet this Urak king wrestles with questions that haunt heroes today: Am I free? Am I doomed? Can I fight my fate?

At a key moment, the "woman of the vine" tells the king: "You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh ... cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man."

These big questions transcend specific religions and have inspired artists through the ages, noted George Nolfi, writer and director of "The Adjustment Bureau," a science-fiction/romance hybrid starring Matt Damon. However, these are also the kinds of complicated questions that make Hollywood executives roll their eyes as they search for date-night hits.... Read this in full at

by Tim Drake
For movie fans, this year looks to be a good one for faith-based films. Not only does it include films with Christian-based themes, but there are also a couple of movies that have been produced by churches. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that nearly every one of these films is being promoted by the Catholic public relations agency The Maximus Group, whose goal is to build bridges between sacred and secular audiences. Such films offer Christian movie-goers the opportunity to put their money towards the kind of films they’d like to see more of. Here are just a few: .... Read this in full at

by Michael Card
"Come follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." Mark 1:17. Of all the mysterious moments, he seems most approachable at this particular moment, most inviting, most available, most human. We imagine the would-be disciples looking up from their nets and fish, smiling at his creative figure of speech. It is a warm Galilee spring day. It is silent, not even the sound of a bird. The sand is warm between their toes. It is an inviting moment, almost cozy. We have imagined this scene during 100 sermons. The excitement of the disciples' hearts resonates in ours. If we had been there on that 29 A.D. morning, we would have left everything too. If, like me, this is how you first imagined that long-ago moment, like me . . . you would have been completely wrong.

We "imagine . . ." What do you mean when you say those words? More importantly, what are you really doing when you "imagine"? As created beings, one of our greatest treasures, perhaps the dearest fingerprint of God in us, is our ability to imagine. But inevitably, whenever I speak about the "biblical imagination" someone will object, "Isn't the imagination a bad thing? Doesn't the Bible say our imaginations are "evil"?

It is a pervasive opinion and there are understandable reasons for it. I think it is founded in the fact that whenever the King James Bible uses the word "imagination" it does so in a negative sense (e.g. " . . . every imagination was evil . . ." Gen. 6:5). Clearly, if we are going to seek to use our imaginations and speak of a "biblical imagination," we need to address this valid concern.... Read this in full at

I try not to comment too often on politics in this space, but aruling last week by two High Court judges in London strikes so deeply at the heart of Christian parents that I have to discuss it.

Owen and Eunice Johns live in Derby City, England, and are active members of a charismatic congregation there. In the 1990s, they served as foster parents for children until they took a break to start a business. In 2007, they applied to start opening their home to foster children again, but this time their application was denied. The Derby City Council stated that their views on homosexuality were in disagreement with the 2007 Equalities and Sexual Orientation regulations.

When asked, “Would you tell a child it was OK to be homosexual?” the Johnses said, “No.” Because of this, Derby City social workers declined their application, so the Johnses asked for a ruling from the High Court. On Monday, the court ruled that Derby City had the right to turn down the couple.
... Read this in full at

For evangelical author John MacArthur, the best way to explain a Christian’s relationship to Jesus is what appears to be a simple metaphor — one often used by the Apostle Paul himself.

To be a Christian is to be a slave of Christ,” writes MacArthur, the pastor of a nondenominational church in Sun Valley, Calif.

His new book, “Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ,” explores the varied practices of Bible translators regarding the controversial term. It’s also drawing mixed reactions among African-American Christians whose ancestors were slaves in 19th-century America.

MacArthur views the issue in almost conspiratorial terms: While biblical texts use the word “slave” to describe actual slave-master relationships in biblical times, English translators often opt for the word “servant” when describing a believer’s relationship to God.

The stigma was just too great with that word to use it to refer to believers, even though they knew that was what `doulos’ meant,” the white pastor said, referring to the Greek word for “slave.”

In most translations, the Apostle Paul describes himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ” in Romans 1:1, but the Southern Baptists’ Holman Christian Standard Bible has him using the term “slave of Jesus Christ.” .... Read this in full at

The Lamb of God is also the Lion of Judah ... [and] he triumphed (see Revelation 5:5). How did he triumph? He has been raised from the dead, he has conquered death, and now the Lamb-Who-Is-Lion is on the throne of God. The cross is not the final word; the final word is Life, the God.Life that raised Jesus from the dead to sit on the throne as the Lion. Amazingly, that Lion's job, this grand finale of books in the Bible tells us, is to install Jesus' followers as a "kingdom and priests" and our task is to "reign on the earth" in God's kingdom.

Do you hear the roar? The Lamb-Who-Is-Lion roars from the distant horizon. The Lion has been inside the grave and down into the depths of death, but God raised him from the dead and is now roaring. He came back to life and he ascended into the throne room of God, where he reigns. From that distant horizon, the Raised One now roars. He roars to let us know he is Lord. He roars to let us know that Caesar is not Lord, he is. He roars to let us know he's sent the Spirit to make us one and to empower us to live as God's beloved community. He roars to let us know we are gifted to serve in that community. He roars to let us know God loves us. He roars to let us know that justice, love, wisdom, and peace matter to him. He roars to inform us that he's watching. He roars to let us know that he's coming again. He roars to let us know that Death is not the final word.

The last word is the roar of the Lamb-Who-Is-Lion-Who-Is-Life. That Lion's roar doesn't frighten us. No, that roar gives us confidence to press on with the Cross.Life. That roar empowers us to pick up the cross daily and follow the Lamb-Who-Is-Lion. That roar enables us to fight through our doubts and to struggle through defeats. That roar wakes us up and gets us going and keeps us going straight along the cross path. That roar points the way toward the Kingdom.Life and urges us to give up our One.Life to him. The Cross.Life, the roar tells us time and time again, is about a cross that is empty and about a grave that is empty and about a throne that is full.”
Scot McKnight in One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow

Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, and his son Jess Rainer have teamed up to write "The Millennials: Connecting to America's Largest Generation" (B&H Publishing Group).

The book unpacks the results of an extensive August 2009 LifeWay Research project that surveyed a national sample of 1,200 Millennials. Millennials are categorized as individuals born between 1980 and 2000, but for research purposes, only older Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1991, were surveyed.

"The Millennial generation, by our count, is the largest generation in America's history, so just the sheer number of Millennials is something that we want to focus upon," Thom Rainer said, noting that about 80 million individuals can be classified as American Millennials. "We have to say, We need to know about this group, how the church can reach them and why we are not reaching them at this time." .... Read this in full at

Also see “The Latent Religious Beliefs of Millennials”

by Mark Ellis
For Star Trek fans, the idea of finding dozens of planets capable of supporting advanced life forms is a thrilling possibility.

NASA's Kepler mission recently discovered its first Earth-size planet candidates and its first candidates in the “habitable zone,” a region where liquid water could exist on a planet's surface.

"The fact that we've found so many planet candidates in such a tiny fraction of the sky suggests there are countless planets orbiting sun-like stars in our galaxy," said William Borucki of NASA's Ames Research Center. "We went from zero to 68 Earth-sized planet candidates and zero to 54 candidates in the habitable zone, some of which could have moons with liquid water."

The fact that these planets may contain water raises the prospect they could contain bacterial life – or even more advanced life forms. But one Christian astrophysicist is skeptical of reading too much into NASA’s announcement.... Read this in full at

In his book Evangelism Explosion, D. James Kennedy tells a true story:

I once heard a man walk up to a woman and say, “How are your kidneys today?” ... Her response? Did she hit him with her purse? No, she said the following: “Oh, they're much better today, thank you, Doctor.” I overheard those words in a hospital room. The doctor had earned the right to ask that personal question. If you doubt that, stop the next lady you meet on the street and ask it yourself, and see what happens. All of which is to say, we need to earn the right to ask personal questions.’

Let me offer a couple of principles to consider as you attempt to reveal the unseen realm to the people in your life.

First, only authenticity and integrity can win a hearing. Be real. Don't buy into the myth that always being in the right will make people want to hear what you have to say. Own your mistakes. If you've said too much and offended, apologize. If you're angry, either confront your offender tactfully or let it go. If you form a wrong opinion, admit it.

Second, you cannot convince anyone of a truth you're not living. If you want to talk about the forgiveness of God, you'll have to model forgiving others. If you want to discuss the love of God, then faithfully love your wife or husband as Christ loved the church. People notice inconsistencies quickly, but they're just as quick to see godly character. They're also smart enough to know that if you really believe something, you'll have no trouble living it.
Charles R. Swindoll in Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus

by Matthew Roberts
During Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to London this past September, Cardinal Walter Kasper noted two things about London: it’s secular and parts of it resemble a Third World country. While the politically correct were quick to condemn Kasper and the Vatican was even quicker to exhibit its pro-Third World, anti-racism bona fides, Kasper’s two statements taken together are noteworthy in that they demonstrate two antagonistic aspects of the modern world. The First World is secular; the Third World is religious.

How can London be both? What happens when you mix First World secularism and Third World religion? In particular, what happens when you import the Third World to the First – as in London? Often, the Third World tries to convert the First, regardless if the evangelizers are Christian or Muslim. While Westerns may be more shocked by Third World Muslims because they expect them to be different, they often are more disoriented by Third World Christians because they are so different from what they expect. The Christianity that the Third World brings to the West is unlike anything ever seen before – just as alien as Islam.

Highlighting this realization is the acknowledgement that Christianity is fast becoming a non-Western religion. Although not the first to make the point, and certainly not the last, Philip Jenkin’s The Next Christendom popularized the notion that Christianity is undergoing a metamorphosis. Jenkins, an Englishman and the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of the Humanities at Penn State University, maintains that the heart of Christianity soon will be, if it is not already, Africa and Latin America. And the shift is not merely a demographic one, but an ideological one as well. Various African and Latin American expressions of Christianity are currently eclipsing the European version of Christianity. Eight years out from the first publication of The Next Christendom, now with a revised and expanded edition and two accompanying books in the trilogy, Jenkins’ observations in the first edition still hold true, a fact that he seems to celebrate in a pointedly anti-Western tone.... Read this in full at

"Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'"
John 8:31-32

Paul’s metaphor of the church as members of Christ’s body is not a mere metaphor. Metaphors have teeth. They keep us grounded to what is right before our eyes. At the same time they keep us connected to all those operations of the Trinity that we can’t see.”
Eugene Peterson, The Pastor

by Brian McLaren
I never heard of C. S. Lewis until I was in high school. He was too “liberal” for the conservative church tradition into which I was born. So I was in my junior year of high school when I first encountered Lewis. I was visiting a friend—a girl, but not a girlfriend, although up until this visit, I was kind of hoping. She had a copy of The Screwtape Letters on her desk. The title sounded intriguing. I picked it up, leafed through it, and to my horror saw that these were letters to and from demons. I quickly put the book down, saying to myself, “What? This guy is channeling demons! What’s this girl doing reading an occult book?!” Thus my first impression of C. S. Lewis wasn’t terribly positive, and I’m sad to say it soured me on this young lady.

A few years later as a freshman in college, I told one of my spiritual mentors about a whole range of intellectual questions that were coming up for me. When he gave me his well-worn copy of Mere Christianity, I said something like, “Isn’t he an occult guy?” My mentor gave me a weird look and asked where I got a crazy idea like that. “Just read the book,” he said. “You’ll see the man is brilliant.” .... Read this in full at

It bothered [the young woman] that he wouldn't ease her hectic evening schedule by helping her with the dishes, and it bothered him that she couldn't accept his simple explanation that he ‘didn't do dishes.’

Everybody has something that he or she doesn't like to do. They get around having to do those things either by getting someone else to do them or by letting them remain undone. The problem is, many of these things we don't like to do are often the very things that are essential to someone else's success or joy.

At the root of the problem is this: for most of humanity, pleasing the self is Plan A. Almost always, it's a plan that is at the direct expense of other people we should love more. I'd like to suggest that you abandon that plan ... [The "what's in it for me" mindset] doesn't hold a candle to a "what's in it for them?" mindset [see Matthew 20:26-28].

So you may not like to do dishes, or housecleaning, or diapers, or math homework, or to hold hands. And if you choose to let your dislikes or fears rule the day, you'll get to enjoy comfort or safety. But you'll be a mere shadow of what you could have been, and the people close to you will lose out because of it. I'm grateful that...
... Noah didn't say, "I don't do floods."
... Joshua didn't say, "I don't do Jerichos."
... David didn't say, "I don't do poems."
... Daniel didn't say, "I don't do lions' dens."
... Joseph didn't say, "I don't do adoptions."
... Paul didn't say, "I don't do mission trips."
And I'm most grateful that Jesus didn't say, ‘I don't do crosses.’”
Dr. Tim Kimmel in the book In Praise of Plan B: Moving from "What Is" to "What Can Be"

What if a quiet walk around a neighborhood could help solve one of the world's biggest poverty issues?

According to a news release from Soles4Souls, the international shoe charity, the group has put together the first ever walk to help alleviate the deficiency of appropriate footwear around the world. The charity's One Walk is connecting thousands of individuals around the country on one day this spring.

On May 14 2011, individuals across the country can walk, run, or crawl for those in need. Participants can walk solo or form a team. Event organizers say 100 percent of net revenue from the One Walk registration fee will be used for helping give shoes to some of the more than 300 million children and untold adults in the US and around the world who lack footwear.

"The One Walk is an opportunity for individuals to join a national one day initiative to make a change," said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls, speaking in a news release.

He added, "Individuals can feel the importance of the need by putting footsteps to their support. Join us on May 14th and let your steps change a life."

Individuals decide where and for how long they walk. Participants can invite friends and start a team, get co-workers together or just hit the road on their own.

Soles4Souls said in the news release, "Footwear is the first step to helping people in impoverished areas live healthy, productive lives. Footwear can help eliminate the spreading of diseases through the foot, as well as help children get an education-since many schools have footwear requirements to attend." .... Read this in full at

Membership in ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) has risen to 1,500, a milestone that reflects unprecedented growth for the organization.

Each of the past three years ECFA has accredited 100-plus members, growth that continues with the latest membership of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, a McLean, Va.-based nonprofit involved in orphan care, advocacy and adoption.

"Word is spreading that membership in ECFA is of tremendous value to faith-based nonprofits, parachurch and church alike," said Dan Busby, ECFA president. "The 1,500-member milestone demonstrates that faith-based nonprofits are taking a proactive approach to positioning themselves as accountable and transparent." .... Read this in full at

This Book [the Bible] outlives, outloves, outlifts, outlasts, outreaches, outruns, and outranks all books. This Book is faith-producing. It is hope-awakening. It is death-destroying. And those who embrace it find forgiveness of sin.”
A. Z. Conrad

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."
1 John 4:20-21

Words & Music: African-American spiritual

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

>from NetHymnal at

Accustom yourself gradually to carry Prayer into all your daily occupation. Speak, act, work in peace, as if you were in prayer, as indeed you ought to be.”
Francois Fenelon (1651-1715), Selections from Fenelon, ed. Mary Wilder Tileston, Boston: Roberts Bros., 1879, p. 54


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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Let me show you how to earn money as you travel!
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Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

The Jukebox Time Machine

32 Pictures To Help You Appreciate The Awesomeness Of Nature

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.)

Good news is just life's way of keeping you off balance.
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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