man to man to God
week of March 20, 2011
weekly newsletter of Path
Of Life Ministries.
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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are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you
who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:26-28
become Christian is in a real sense to become human because
nothing dehumanizes more than rebellion against God or humanizes
more than reconciliation to God and fellowship with God.”
John R. W. Stott (b. 1921), Christian Mission in the Modern
World, London: Falcon; Downers Grove: IVP, 1975, p. 105
PARABLES: UNDERSTANDING JESUS' STRANGE GOOD NEWS
Matthew L. Skinner
said lots of wacky stuff, it seems.
made a point like this once to a man I had just met, and it didn't
go well. As part of a group-building exercise, a speaker asked
each of us in the audience to discuss a passage from the Bible
with our neighbor. Early in the course of my conversation with
this stranger, I offhandedly noted how Jesus appeals to
absurdities to make a point when he warns about salt losing its
taste or someone sticking a burning lamp underneath a basket --
which are comments from his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-17).
nothing absurd about it," my conversation partner snapped.
"Jesus didn't deal in absurdities."
we were no longer discussing specific details of the biblical
passage. He thought I was being flippant or not taking Jesus as a
serious authority. I had offended his piety and he felt a need to
defend either Jesus or the Bible. It's kind of an occupational
hazard for people in my line of work.
I couldn't help but wonder, "Does this guy really think Jesus
is all about giving it to us straight? Has he even read the
Gospels?" If you can't appreciate absurdity, and the positive
effects it can have, then how will you understand all the
has his moments when he speaks plainly, but much of what the
Gospels convey is a lot more elusive. That's what makes his
teachings so evocative, and sometimes offensive, and sometimes
restorative. This is particularly true with his parables.... Read
this in full at
SHOULD WE MEASURE SPIRITUAL GROWTH?
the field of education, measurements are crucial. Not measuring
baking ingredients or 2x4s, of course, but measuring a student’s
progress. Tracking growth.
is especially important for me as I’m hunkered down at the
alternative high school — the last stop for the teens of
learning in my context, like the spiritual one, is a tricky
business. When it comes to internal processes — growth of
the mind or the spirit, for example — there are no fancy
growth charts to tack up against the wall.
keep students progressing, then, good teachers ask themselves a
guiding question: “How will we know when a student is
officially ‘educated’?” Or, in other words,
“What does a well-rounded graduate look like?” ....
Read this in full at
WITH JESUS ON THE MOON LEFT ASTRONAUT CHANGED
the rounded gray Apennine mountains of the moon, Apollo 15
astronaut James Irwin had an encounter with God he would never
was the eighth man to walk on the moon and the first to ride in
the Lunar Rover. Apollo 15 was a ‘J-Mission,’
which meant he and fellow astronaut David Scott spent an extended
period on the lunar surface – almost three days, where they
collected 170 pounds of geologic material including the famous
believe the rock dates back to the time the original lunar crust
was formed, which they estimate at 4.5 billion years. “It
was remarkable,” Irwin commented later. “It was
sitting on a pedestal rock almost free from dust. It seemed to be
saying, ‘Here I am, take me.’”
and Scott worked for an extended period with little rest prior to
their liftoff. “Apparently, when Jim was suiting up his
water tube kinked so he wasn’t able to get any water,”
recalls Mary Irwin, his wife.
their spacesuits, the temperature on the lunar surface was 150
degrees. “He perspired like crazy,” Mary says. “He
was losing his electrolyte balance. An imbalance of sodium and
potassium can trigger a heart attack," she notes.... Read
this in full at
BEGINS, WINDS ARE BLOWING IN JAPAN
As one looks across the face of the earth today, it doesn't
take much spiritual discernment to see that things are shaking as
has been prophesied over the past few years.
voices, including myself, have spoke over what is known as the
"Rim of Fire" nations, or the Pacific Rim. These are the
approximately 40-odd nations that ring the Pacific with some sort
of volcanic activity.
The tragedy in Japan brings this
prophetic shaking starkly to the forefront of the news. Many are
asking the question, "What is taking place?".... Read
this is full
IS SIN BECOMING SO HARD TO FIND AND DEFINE?
ago, a small college in the American Midwest, advertised in its
college catalog: “We are located 25 miles from any known
form of sin.” College campuses have certainly changed!
Karl Menninger, M.D., wrote his popular eye-opening best-seller,
“Whatever Became of Sin?,” published by Hawthorn
Books, 1973. It was the talk of the town -- discussed on
television and radio and in newspapers and magazines. Some
preachers even dared to preach about it. In recent years, the very
idea of such a thing as sin has been pretty well dismissed in
for the latest evening news recently, I went by a program just in
time to hear a woman loudly blurt out, “That is certainly no
sin.” I do not know where she became an authority on such a
far-reaching matter. She talked as if she knew all about it. Maybe
she did.... Read this in full at
TO ENJOY YOUR SANDWICH
of the first Christians, a man named Paul, wrote about his
‘troubles, hardships, distress, beatings, imprisonment,
riots, sleepless nights, hunger’ [see 2 Cor. 6:4-5].
is a man who suffered, yet he doesn't end his list with despair.
claims that he and his friends are ‘genuine, yet regarded as
imposters; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet they
live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always
rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet
possessing everything’ [see 2 Cor 6:9-10].
Letterman had the musician Warren Zevon on his show soon after
Zevon found out he had cancer. Letterman asked him, ‘From
your perspective, do you know something about life ... that maybe
I don’t know?’
Zevon answered, ‘I know how much you’re supposed to
enjoy every sandwich.’
what happens to us when we suffer is that we become open to the
mercy and grace and gratitude and gifts and appreciation and joy
that are always around us all the time, even in a sandwich.”
Rob Bell in Drops Like Stars Tour Film
I VALUE MOST': WEBSITE WITH TESTIMONIES & THE GOSPEL
surrendering my life to Jesus, finding my value in Him, praying
the prayer above," Jodi of Emporia, Kan., checked on the
"What I Value Most" website.
simple website – http://www.whativaluemost.com
-- encompasses an ever-increasing number of personal testimonies
and a clear gospel presentation. In the two years it has been
available to the public, more than 30,000 people -- in all 50
states and nearly 100 nations -– have visited it.
anticipation was that it would greatly impact Louisiana,"
said Keith Manuel, evangelism associate with the Louisiana Baptist
Convention. "We had no idea it would impact the world."
.... Read this in full at
THIS 'SECRET MILLIONAIRE' WENT PUBLIC
ABC approached Dani Johnson about starring on a new show called
Secret Millionaire, she said no. When they tried a second time,
she said no. Ditto the third time and the fourth.
until ABC asked for a fifth time did Johnson, a self-made
millionaire, finally say yes, and the results were seen on TV. The
premise is simple: Take a millionaire to "the other side of
the tracks" and let them live in poverty for a whole week.
Arrange for said millionaire to volunteer in local outreach
organizations, places that are usually operating on a limited
budget. At the end of the week, reveal the secret identity of the
millionaire as he/she writes big checks to these organizations.
Cue the violins, and let the tears roll.
that last part — writing the checks—that bothered
Johnson the most. Not that she can't afford it, and not that she's
stingy. Johnson—who earned her millions as a motivational
speaker, author, and founder of a financial advising firm that
helps people get out of debt and build their portfolios—is a
devout Christian and quite generous. She and husband Hans run
King's Ransom, a non-profit foundation dedicated to giving and
serving people in need around the globe.
Johnson prefers to write her checks in private, based on Matthew
6:1-4, where Jesus says not to do our "acts of righteousness
before men," but to do our giving "in secret." So
why'd she ultimately say yes? Because Scripture (Matthew 5:14-16)
also calls us to "let your light shine before men, that they
may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
her episode of Secret Millionaire, Johnson 42, traveled to
Knoxville, Tenn., and lived in a scuzzy apartment for a week while
doing volunteer work with several charities. Christianity Today
spoke with Johnson about her experience.... Read this in full at
DREAMS WON'T LET GO
you stop dreaming, you begin dying.
you chase your dreams, you begin to live your dreams.
you find the dream of all dreams, you flourish.
your dreams is the way you find them.
have only One.Life to chase, find, and live your dream.
your One.Life be consumed by the dream.
believe God speaks to us through our dreams. Yes, of course, some
crackpots have dreams that caution us about chasing crazy dreams.
But I think you'll agree our dreams give us direction and hope.
Our dreams give us life itself and make our One.Life matter. We
summon courage to try something different, move to unknown places,
start new jobs, and take on more education.
do you get your dreams? I wonder if you think about God giving you
the dream you have. People who have accomplished great things were
driven by their dreams. Like Wangari Maathai, a woman who wants to
reforest the mountains of Kenya. Or Bono, who wants to end
poverty. Or Paul Farmer, who as a college student saw the needs of
Haiti and became a medical doctor. But the one who made this so
clear is Martin Luther King Jr., whose dream became a speech: ‘I
Have a Dream.’ I remember listening to his dream when I was
a kid, and I wonder who you might be listening to right now who
will become the next dreamer to make a difference. Maybe the
dreamer is you!
best dreams you have call for every bit of you. And they won't let
go. Why won't they let go?”
Scot McKnight in One.Life:
Jesus Calls, We Follow
BY THE CLOCK OR LIFE BY THE COMPASS?
do you live by: Clock or compass? If the clock dictates, your life
is consumed with the immediate and pressing issues of the moment.
Clock-life is focused on short-term results. If the clock rules,
you find yourself racing from event to event in a mad scramble to
meet expectations and deadlines. When the day ends, you are
exhausted and dismayed to find that tomorrow has another long
to-do list awaiting you. Life that is dictated by the clock is
high-speed intensity. It produces, but at a high price tag.
Clock-life is the American way. Clock-life accurately describes
much of modern congregational and clergy life.... Read this in
EXCERPT FROM “SPEAKING CHRISTIAN”
Marcus J. Borg
language has become a stumbling block in our time. Much of its
basic vocabulary is seriously misunderstood by Christians and
non-Christians alike. Big words like salvation, saved,
sacrifice, redeemer, redemption, righteousness, repentance, mercy,
sin, forgiveness, born again, second coming, God, Jesus, and Bible
and collections of words like the creeds, the Lord’s Prayer,
and liturgies have acquired meanings that are serious distortions
of their biblical and traditional meanings.
misunderstandings flow from two major causes shaping the way
Christian language is heard. The first is the literalization of
language in the modern period, affecting Christians and
non-Christians alike. The second is the interpretation of
Christian language within a common framework that I call “heaven
and hell” Christianity, which I describe more fully in
Chapter 1. When this is the primary framework for understanding
Christianity, as it often is, it diminishes and distorts the
meaning of Christian language.
in this country (and elsewhere) are deeply divided by different
understandings of a shared language. About half (maybe more) of
American Christians believe that biblical language is to be
understood literally within a heaven-and-hell framework that
emphasizes the afterlife, sin and forgiveness, Jesus dying for our
sins, and believing. The other half (maybe less) puzzle over and
have problems with this. Some have moved on to another
understanding of Christian language. The differences are so sharp
that they virtually produce two different religions, both using
the same Bible and the same language.... Read this in full at
hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious
place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere
mortals do to me?"
God took time to create beauty, how can we be too busy to
Randall B. Corbin
DOES A RELIGION BECOME A CULT?
has probably supplied the world with more new religions than any
other nation. Since the first half of the 19th century, the
country's atmosphere of religious experimentation has produced
dozens of movements, from Mormonism to a wide range of
nature-based practices grouped under the name Wicca.
1970 the religious scholar Jacob Needleman popularized the term
"New Religious Movements" (NRM) to classify the new
faiths, or variants of old ones, that were being embraced by the
Woodstock generation. But how do we tell when a religious movement
ceases to be novel or unusual and becomes a cult?
a question with a long history in this country. The controversy
involving Hollywood writer-director Paul Haggis is only its most
recent occurrence. Mr. Haggis left the Church of Scientology and
has accused it of abusive practices, including demands that
members disconnect from their families, which the church
vigorously denies.... Read this in full at
WE LOOK FOR IN CHURCH
should all be reminded that Jesus himself was consumed with zeal
for God's house (John 2:17). Jesus was not apathetic, negligent,
or complacent about the church of his day. And when he ascended to
heaven, that same zeal continued to inform his love for his
church, even to the point of discipline (see Rev. 2 - 3). Being
fully engaged in the life of the church, furious about her
shortcomings, and graciously working for her survival ... well,
that's what it means to be like Christ. That's what it means to be
zealous for the church -- to love her as Christ does.
how does Jesus know that the local church won't become irrelevant
... overwhelmed by its own sin and failures? ... [Jesus] has
promised that not even hell itself can overcome the church (Matt.
16:18). Despite the grand failures of the church over the
centuries, the church represents God's future plans for his
not forget that Jesus knows our needs better than we know
ourselves ... We know, without a doubt, that we want a community
of people who look like us, where we can be comfortable. We want a
place where we see immediate, visible results, a group that the
world thinks is cool and inoffensive, and a community where
everyone follows our rules and agrees with our understanding of
God. We want a place where we can avoid the ugliness of sin, a
place where we are in charge and always get our way, a community
that demands little of our precious time, money, and energy.
what we really need is ... a place where we can be changed and
transformed into the likeness of Christ, even if it is a painfully
slow process ... We need a team of people committed to the whole
mission of God ... even if it means we sometimes experience
dysfunctional team dynamics. And we need a community where the
greatness of our sin and failure only serves to magnify the wonder
of God's mercy and his grace, where God's work in salvation is
powerfully evident to the world, and where Christ is made visible
Jim Samra in The Gift of Church: How God
Designed the Local Church to Meet Our Needs as Christians
REVIVAL MOVEMENT SWEEPS BRAZIL
figures released recently show Christianity is increasing in
Brazil. If the trend continues, it is predicted that more than
half of all Brazilians (109 million Christians out of 209 million
citizens) will be evangelical Christians by 2020. So many
Brazilians have already been born-again that they've influenced
all areas of life, even helped lower the divorce and alcoholism
rates.... Read this in full at
CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS WORSHIP THE SAME GOD?
and Christians can work together to depose dictators and assert
the power of the people. We've seen it happen on the Tahrir Square
in Cairo during the 2011 revolution in Egypt, with devout Muslims
and Coptic Christians protesting side by side. But can Muslims and
Christians work together to build a democratic society in which
rights of all are respected, the rights of minority Coptic
Christians no less than the rights of majority Muslims? They can,
if they have a common set of fundamental values. But do they? They
do, if they, both monotheists, have a common God.
since 9/11, the most common question I am asked when I speak about
these two religions is whether or not Muslims and Christians
worship the same God. Muslims don't push the question. But
Christians do, vigorously -- in Europe, Asia and Africa no less
than in North America. Maybe that's not surprising. In the manual
of the terrorists who flew the planes on a suicidal mission it
read: "Remember, this is a battle for the sake of God."
In the name of God and with expectations of glory in this world
and rewards in the next, they killed themselves and thousands of
innocent civilians. To many Christians it seems obvious that the
God who spills the blood of the innocent and rewards suicidal
missions with paradisiacal pleasures can't be the God they
worship.... Read this in full at
RACING ANNOUNCES MINISTRY OUTREACH PLANS FOR 2011
Racing has announced its Fan Outreach lineup for 2011. Events in
the planning stage include Indianapolis, Texas, New Hampshire, and
Las Vegas. This will mark Kingdom Racing's fourth year and will
combine several races and ministry outreach events.
Outreach Festivals will take place during the IndyCar race
weekends that will feature Kingdom Racing's race entrant. The team
is once again partnering with national Christian Ministries and
local Churches at each track. "Through these efforts, Kingdom
Racing intends to reach thousands of people in 2011 with the good
news of Jesus Christ" said spokesperson Richard Jackson.
Kingdom Racing will also sponsor the Centennial 500 Breakfast to
be held on Saturday May 28, 2011 at the historic Indianapolis
Racing is an IndyCar race team with a unique mission: To Deliver
God's Word through Motorsports. In May of 2008, Kingdom Racing
made history as the first faith-vision team to ever compete in the
100 year history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For more
information visit http://www.kingdomracing.net.
is not a hothouse plant that must be shielded from wind and rain,
so delicate that it has to be protected, but is like the sturdy
oak which becomes stronger with every wind that blows upon it. An
easy time weakens faith, while strong trials strengthen it.”
as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is
written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy."
WEEK'S HYMN: O COME AND MOURN WITH ME
Frederick W. Faber, 1849
John B. Dykes, 1861
come and mourn with me awhile;
tarry here the cross beside;
come, together let us mourn;
our Lord, is crucified.
we no tears to shed for Him,
soldiers scoff and foes deride?
look how patiently He hangs;
our Lord, is crucified.
fast His hands and feet are nailed;
blessed tongue with thirst is tied,
failing eyes are blind with blood:
our Lord, is crucified.
mother cannot reach His face;
stands in helplessness beside;
heart is martyred with her Son’s:
our Lord, is Crucified.
times He spoke, seven words of love;
all three hours His silence cried
mercy on the souls of men;
our Lord, is crucified.
let us stand beneath the cross;
may the blood from out His side
gently on us drop by drop;
our Lord, is crucified.
break, O break, hard heart of mine!
weak self-love and guilty pride
Pilate and His Judas were:
our Lord, is crucified.
broken heart, a fount of tears,
and they will not be denied;
broken heart love’s cradle is:
our Lord, is crucified.
love of God! O sin of man!
this dread act Your strength is tried;
victory remains with love;
Thou our Lord, art crucified!
is no easy matter. It demands a relationship in which you allow
someone other than yourself to enter into the very center of your
person, to see there what you would rather leave in darkness, and
to touch there what you would rather leave untouched."
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
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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us what sites you find enjoyable and why.
links to websites are provided as a service, and do not imply
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old is mandatory, growing wise is optional.
Frank Coleman, Editor
for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!
is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations,
articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual
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result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ.
Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, email@example.com
if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
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