Connecting man to man to God
For week of May 29, 2011
Issue 358

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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Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.”
Psalm 68:19-20 (New International Version)

To have a good friend is one of the highest delights of life; to be a good friend is one of the noblest and most difficult undertakings.”
Author Unknown

by Kevin Flatt
For Canadians, comparing ourselves to our American neighbours is our second most popular national sport — after hockey, of course. Though we may suffer from an unfortunate tendency toward self-congratulation when making these comparisons, they can also prove instructive for parties on both sides of the forty-ninth parallel.

Comparisons between Canadian and American evangelicals don't escape this general rule. The danger of easy stereotypes is definitely present: Canadians gazing south, for example, can fall into the trap of assuming that the pictures of American evangelicals served up by the media — late-night televangelists, sketchy celebrity pastors, or political commentators with foot-in-mouth disease — provide a balanced picture of the movement as a whole.

Despite this danger, cross-border comparisons are necessary and inevitable, especially for those whose work involves dealing with evangelical communities in both countries. But because of this danger, such comparisons must be based on a sober assessment of reliable information. Thanks to careful research by sociologists and historians, such an assessment is within our grasp.

On the whole, Canadian and American evangelicals resemble each other more than they resemble their fellow Canadians or Americans.... Read this in full at

by Sarah Sumner
Every person on the planet at times is an Oscar-winning liar. Haven't we all lied without being caught? As the Bible says, "There is no one righteous, not even one.... Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit" (Rom. 3:10-13). My husband and I, aware of this reality, have made a pact. If either of us lies to the other, we are committed to confessing the lie within three days.

Perhaps my most common lie is to tell myself I can do things in less time than I actually can. And lying to myself in this way sets me up to lie to others. How many times have I told my husband that I would arrive at a certain time and place when in my heart I wasn't genuinely committed to following through on my word? I told him that I'd be there, but I wasn't. My husband has learned not to trust me, because my actions don't always line up with my words.... Read this in full at

I don't know about you, but the voices in my head can ruin a perfectly good weekend. It does not take much. A competitor gets an edge, and I play over and over the moment when I missed my opportunity. My wife and I may have an argument, or someone says something I can't let go of, or I worry about what someone may think regarding something I did or said, so I dive into the pool of voices until I nearly drown in their pity, their anxiety, their fear, their accusations, and their conceit. The voices can make a man miss a bluebird sky, a smile, or the tug of his son's hand begging him to ‘come play with me.’ The voices prove constantly the need to ‘be still, and know that I am God’ and to ‘let not your hearts be troubled.’

To be healthy in your relationships with God and with people, learn to distinguish good voices from bad so you can reject those that repeat only worn-out lies from the enemy of your soul. If you listen to lies from the past and the present, or even lies you tell yourself, stop it. Commit from this day forward to accept only truth. You have to commit to live in truth, to love it, and to follow it wherever it leads. I hear the good and familiar voice of my son reminding me, ‘Truth is enough.’ Being a man, the kind of man you respect, begins with accepting the truth about yourself, and then moving forward.

If all this sounds right to you, but you are weak in faith, the Scriptures teach us that ‘faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ’ [Romans 10:17]. Listen to the one and only Voice who can ever help you hear. Start by hearing God's Word. Read the Scriptures aloud to yourself everyday. It is impossible to remain weak in your faith if your heart, soul, and mind are hearing the Word of God and if you are daily asking God by his power to reveal his truth to your heart and mind. Ask him to help you every five minutes, if that's what it takes to come to understand and accept his grace and goodness. In other words, make accepting truth by faith your number one priority.”
Wes Yoder in Bond of Brothers: Connecting with Other Men Beyond Work, Weather, and Sports

by Rob Moll
Our culture simply doesn't know what to think about death. Through medicine and science we know more about death and how to forestall it than ever before. Yet we know very little about caring for a dying person. We don't know what to expect or how to prepare for our own death. And we're often awkward at best when trying to comfort a friend in grief.

Our culture is fighting, and sometimes succeeding, to expand the so-called right to die. We hear stories of the compassion of family members and doctors who assist in the deaths of terminally ill patients. Yet our doctors and hospitals are astounding in their ability and passionate desire to rescue cancer sufferers, accident victims, or heart-attack patients. We have come to expect medical breakthroughs, vaccines, and wonder-working drugs.

There is no shortage of books, studies, and experts ready to explain our culture's fear of death or our eagerness to avoid it. Yet some of our bestsellers — Tuesdays with Morrie, The Last Lecture, 90 Minutes in Heaven — feature stories about people dying, or nearly so, and the lessons they discovered at the end of life. Celebrities give a whole society the opportunity to follow along in the struggle with a terminal disease and publicly, at least on TV, mourn their deaths.... Read this in full at

by N.T. Wright
It’s depressing to see Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant minds in his field, trying to speak as an expert on things he sadly seems to know rather less about than many averagely intelligent Christians. Of course there are people who think of ‘heaven’ as a kind of pie-in-the-sky dream of an afterlife to make the thought of dying less awful. No doubt that’s a problem as old as the human race. But in the Bible ‘heaven’ isn’t ‘the place where people go when they die.’ In the Bible heaven is God’s space while earth (or, if you like, ‘the cosmos’ or ‘creation’) is our space. And the Bible makes it clear that the two overlap and interlock. For the ancient Jews, the place where this happened was the temple; for the Christians, the place where this happened was Jesus himself, and then, astonishingly, the persons of Christians because they, too, were ‘temples’ of God’s own spirit.

Hawking is working with a very low-grade and sub-biblical view of ‘going to heaven.’ Of course, if faced with the fully Christian two-stage view of what happens after death -- first, a time ‘with Christ’ in ‘heaven’ or ‘paradise,’and then, when God renews the whole creation, bodily resurrection -- he would no doubt dismiss that as incredible. But I wonder if he has ever even stopped to look properly, with his high-octane intellect, at the evidence for Jesus and the resurrection? I doubt it -- most people in England haven’t. Until he has, his opinion about all this is worth about the same as mine on nuclear physics, i.e. not much.... Read this in full at

We are shaped by what we love. Noticing the inherent beauty of a thing is the first step in organizing our thoughts and actions around it. Loving humility, admiring it and longing for it are what kick-starts the process of being transformed by it. Let me offer an analogy. In my music career I never deliberately set out to sing in the style of Bono from U2. (A quick listen to my songs will reveal that I never quite attained it either.) But that Irishman's lilt and passion, light and shade, left their obvious marks on both my songwriting and vocal approach. I was shaped by what I admired.

My second thought relates to the first. Reflect on the lives of the humble. If we are shaped by what we admire, finding admirable examples and studying them will go a long way toward forming humility in us. I trust most readers will be able to think of a few people around them who hold their power for the good of others before themselves. My suggestion is that you watch them closely, talk to them about their decisions and try to emulate them.

Finally, forget about being humble. C. S. Lewis, the famous Oxford don and author of The Chronicles of Narnia [insisted] that humility is quite unlike the property of, for example, having brown hair. It is not something you especially notice in others. You don't suddenly meet someone and think, ‘Wow! What dazzling humility!’ It is a rather low-key virtue. It often takes a while to spot in others, partly because the truly humble person is not at all concerned about appearing humble. He is not thinking of himself at all.”
John Dickson in Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership

by Matthew Dickerson
I travel from time to time. Unfortunately, this requires sleeping in hotel rooms. My last hotel stay had me pondering the differences between a hotel room and my own home. The "hospitality" industry specializes in the sterile and generic. I can hope for little more than clean sheets, hot water, and maybe a coffee machine. Even luxury hotels, despite elegant fixtures and expensive amenities, are designed for standardized guests. Any art on the walls is mass-produced.

One hotel room is the same as another. But my house, with all its quirks, is a home: a long-term habitat, a place of relationships and authentic hospitality. I don't feel like a guest. Indeed, even my guests shouldn't feel like guests, but like family.

For these reasons, I treat a hotel room much differently than my home. I don't trash hotel rooms, but neither am I invested in them. I wouldn't spend any money to redecorate the walls or to fix a broken drain in the tub. But I'm always thinking about maintaining and improving my home: adding new art or furniture, modifying rooms, installing a screen porch, redesigning a kitchen — and, of course, fixing what breaks. Because I am committed to my home, my attitude is fundamentally different.... Read this in full at

God's Word gives us a simple but awesome promise: ‘He who has a generous eye will be blessed’ (Prov. 22:9 NKJV). What would you see if you looked at the world through generous eyes? Going through your daily life, you might notice needs that escape other people, or identify places where you alone are capable of giving what's needed. Seeing with generous eyes would color your thinking beyond yourself:
God, who can I bless in this present situation?’
What do I have that I could use to make a difference?’
What is the need here - and what can I do to meet it?’

Weirdly enough, the more we give away, the richer we become.We're promised a blessing when we have a generous eye. But what exactly does this mean? I'm not suggesting that when you give a hundred dollars somewhere, you're going to get back a hundred dollars (or more) somewhere else. Certainly, this can happen, but it's not the point. This truth is not an investment strategy for manipulating God like you'd play the stock market. We're promised a blessing if we give generously, not a big payback. Not all the blessings of God have to do with money; instead, they may be riches of the Spirit - peace, joy, patience - or gifts that money can't buy (a spouse, kids, forgiveness, respect, a job you love). In God's economy, you may even harvest a crop in places where you didn't plant seed. Giving generously changes you. It frees you up, undermines the power that money and possessions can have over you, and it makes you more like him.”
Craig Groeschel in Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working

by Kevin Belmonte
This weekend, I will be driving with my wife and son out to the campus of what will become C.S. Lewis College. Sited on what was formerly the Northfield Seminary, founded by D.L. Moody in 1879, this beautiful property, with its handsome buildings and rich history, is currently in the process of being restored. Wherever one walks on its hillsides, the skill of dedicated artisans and contractors is everywhere in evidence.

In a time of economic uncertainty, I see all of this as a springtime of hope. A campus shuttered for many years is being reborn. The legacies of D.L. Moody and C.S. Lewis have come together, and will go on together.... Read this in full at

A free eChart is available: Fatherhood: Statistics on the Importance of Dad shares statistical data on the impact fathers have on their children. The chart is a portion of Fatherhood: Making a Lifetime of Difference pamphlet. The pamphlet encourages dads by showing both statistics and biblical wisdom with a good sense of humor. A great reminder on the important role God has called men to play in their families.

by W. Bradford Wilcox
Recently, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver both attended Mass at St. Monica’s Church in Santa Monica, California. But this time, they came alone, not together, as has been their usual pattern. Before Shriver learned of Schwarzenegger’s infidelity earlier this year, the couple and their four children were known to be frequent churchgoers at St. Monica’s.

The marital misbehavior of Schwarzenegger, a Roman Catholic, not to mention evangelical Protestants such as John Ensign and Mark Sanford, however, should not be mistaken for the norm among married men in America today, and especially for married men who are regular churchgoers. Although the institution of marriage in the United States has fallen on hard times in recent years — for instance, the marriage rate has dropped in half since 1970, even as the percentage of babies being born outside of wedlock more than tripled over the same time period — one surprising bright spot when it comes to married life in America is that sexual fidelity seems to be on the upswing.

According to research by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, Americans have become less tolerant of marital infidelity over the last 40 years, and somewhat less likely to stray over the last 20 years. For instance, in the 1970s, 63% of men and 73% of women said marital infidelity is “always wrong.” In the 2000s, 78% of men and 84% of women said that marital infidelity is “always wrong.” .... Read this in full at

Francis Chan, best-selling author of Crazy Love and Forgotten God (both are New York Times bestsellers), announces a forthcoming book titled Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity and the Things We Make Up (David C Cook). Releasing July 5, 2011, Erasing Hell promises to be both controversial and confessional, directly addressing a variety of views on hell, the Bible and God. Chan offers a preview of Erasing Hell in a 10-minute video at

The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.”
Nahum 1:3 (New International Version)

God's Word is an enemy for depression, an escape from temptation, the promise of the future, as well as a guide, hope and inspiration for now and always.”
Al and Brenda Taylor

3 Views: Observers weigh in on debt's indication of lack of faith, danger, and potential immorality.
by Ron Blue, John G. Stackhouse Jr., and Mary Hunt.... Read this in full at

When Davy Liu left behind a six-figure salary and a job most animators could only dream about, it was only just the beginning. For the former Disney animator who worked on such classic films as “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and “Mulan,” one mission stood above the rest – fulfilling God’s will for his life.

In an interview with The Gospel Herald, Liu shared about his new, God-given dreams, which were no longer centered on winning an Oscar, but on doing the Kingdom’s work, despite financial obstacles and family disapproval. “Fulfilling the will of God is more important than earning worldly wealth because the treasures on earth are temporary, but the treasures stored in heaven are for an eternity,” Liu stated.... Read this in full at

Focus on the Family is expanding its efforts to help parents protect their children by teaming up with TVGuardian to provide clean entertainment choices for families. The organizations are working together to make the TVGuardian filter, a device that eliminates objectionable language, available to more families.

TVGuardian is a small unit that, when connected to television sets, automatically mutes all forms of profanity and inappropriate language from broadcast television, cable, satellite and DVDs. TVGuardian was designed to work with programs and movies that would otherwise be enjoyable entertainment options for families if objectionable language were eliminated.

Rich Bennett, vice president of Focus on the Family's Family Strategy Office, sees these resources as vital in the effort to help families with the challenges presented by modern media.... Read this in full at

No sooner had 29-year-old Graham Messier joined a small group at his church earlier this year than he found himself breaking an American taboo: talking about how much he earns, and where it all goes.

Others in the group did likewise as they kicked off an eight-week program aimed at reconciling personal finances with Christian rhetoric about economic justice. It’s countercultural, they said, but it works.

By the eighth meeting, Messier’s group had raised $1,800 for three non-profits simply by cutting back on gourmet coffees, dining out and other non-essentials.

Talking about household budgets isn’t “the most comfortable thing in the world,” Messier said. “But talking as Christians about the reality of our money situations should be more of a focus than it is generally if we’re going to be real about loving, giving to the poor and taking care of our fellow man.”

Since inception in 2006, the Lazarus at the Gate curriculum has guided some 400 people in more than 30 groups to give away a total of $200,000. Using the biblical story of poor Lazarus seeking help at a rich man’s gate, most participants learn that ordinary Americans rank among the world’s richest 5 percent—and that a few dollars go a lot farther in the developing world than they do at their local Starbucks.... Read this in full at

David Braneky is thinning arugula shoots, weeding rows of baby broccoli, and feeling great. Of course, he is. His day-off to-do list is shorter by two tasks, and he gets to watch the miracle of spring unfold, row by row. Those are no small gifts, as every gardener knows.

But Braneky, called "Pastor Dave" by his congregation at Lansdowne Baptist Church, experiences something else in the garden, too: a profound connection to the Earth, to his food supply, humanity, and community, and to his God. "For me, the garden is a spiritual place. It's proof of the power of God and it reconnects us to each other and the land," says Braneky, 34, who folds the garden's lessons - patience, humility, and the seasonal cycles of life and death - into his ministry and worldview. And sometimes, into his sermons.... Read this in full at

In the beginning, Mark Burnett made a name as the most prominent producer of reality television. Now he’s moving from Omarosa to Moses.

In what Mr. Burnett is calling the “most important project I have ever undertaken,” he has made a deal with the History Channel to mount a 10-hour series based on the stories of the Bible. The project is expected to be on a similar scale to its most ambitious work, “America: The Story of Us.”

That 12-part series, covering the 400-year history of America and broadcast last year, was closer to the fare typically seen on the History Channel. But Nancy Dubuc, the president of History, said the historical importance of the Bible is beyond dispute.

This is the most discussed, debated book in the history of mankind,” said Ms. Dubuc, whose channel has tackled other religious projects, like “Jesus: The Lost 40 Days” and “The Real Face of Jesus?” She added, “What the book has come to represent, and the power of it and the importance of it is itself history.”

The Bible” will not be a documentary representation; it will be a scripted, acted drama. That represents a departure for Mr. Burnett, the man behind hit shows like “Survivor,” “The Apprentice” and “The Voice.” .... Read this in full at

Las Vegas has a little secret it’s hiding from many of the 35 million tourists who come to cut loose in a place where sin is celebrated and sold with messianic zeal. Brace yourself. Las Vegas has churches. Lots of them. Mosques, temples and synagogues, too, representing vibrant faiths from all over creation. And each and every Sunday these prayerful halls are filled with devout worshippers whose idea of big stakes differ vastly from those who pray for a lucky roll of the dice.

I think America would be surprised by the huge religious undercurrent that runs through Las Vegas,” says Dr. Mark Wickstrom, senior pastor at the 3,700-member Community Lutheran Church of Las Vegas.... Read this in full at

Next time Grandma asks why you're going to the mall on Sunday morning instead of church, tell her you're going to Apple Chapel.

For Apple fans, the brand triggers a reaction in the brain that's not unlike that of religious devotees, according to a BBC documentary series that cites neurological research.

The neuroscientists ran a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test on an Apple fanatic and discovered that images of the technology company's gadgets lit up the same parts of the brain as images of a deity do for religious people, the report says.

The first episode of the documentary shows Apple employees "whipped up into some sort of crazy, evangelical frenzy" at the recent opening of an Apple store in London.

Observers and Apple critics have long accused fans of the tech company of taking their infatuation to an extreme..... Read this in full at

Seven Algerian churches face closure after the governor of their province sent them written notice that they were operating “illegally.”

The notice on May 22 from Police Chief Ben Salma, citing a May 8 decree from the Bejaia Province governor, also states that all churches “in all parts of the country” will be closed for lack of compliance with registration regulations, but Christian leaders dismissed this assertion as the provincial official does not have nationwide authority.

All buildings permanently designated for or in the process of being designated for the practice of religious worship other than Muslim will be permanently closed down in all parts of the country, as well as those not having received the conformity authorization from the National Commission,” Salma stated in the notice.... Read this in full at

When Scotty McCreery won Season 10 of the singing contest "American Idol" May 25, he responded by saying, "I thank the Lord. He got me here."

McCreery, 17, also is a member of First Baptist Church in Garner, N.C., a Southern Baptist congregation where he has been active in the church's youth group.

A Charlotte Observer article portrayed McCreery as a "boy next door," patiently ringing up customers as a high school cashier at the Lowes Foods in Garner. He had become a contestant on the popular show, but he hadn't told many people in his hometown. People started noticing him around February.

"Once they realized who he was, they all went to his register," the store manager said, adding that four checkout lines were empty and McCreery's line stretched 30 customers deep, to the back of the store.... Read this in full at

A farmer had been swindled many times by the local car dealer. One day, the car dealer informed the farmer that he was coming over to purchase a cow. The farmer priced the unit as follows:
- Basic Cow $999.95
- Shipping and Handling $35.75
- Extra Stomach $79.25
- Two-tone Exterior $142.10
- Produce Storage Compartment $128.50
- Heavy Duty Straw Chopper $189.60
- 4-Spigot/High Output Drain System $149.20
- Automatic Fly Swatter $88.50
- Genuine Cowhide Upholstery $170.80
- Deluxe Dual Horns $59.25
- Automatic Fertilizer Attachment $339.40
- 4 X 4 Traction Drive Assembly $884.16
- Pre-Delivery Wash and Comb $69.80

Farmer Suggested List Price $3336.26
Additional Dealer Adjustment $300.00

Total list price (including options) $3636.26
Tax and Ear Tags $418.00


Earthly prosperity is no sign of the special love of heaven; nor are sorrow and care any mark of God's disfavor, but the reverse. God's love is robust and true and eager- not for our own comfort, but for our lasting blessedness.”
F. B. Meyer

The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some have wandered away from the faith and have impaled themselves with a lot of pain because they made money their goal. But as for you, man of God, run away from all these things. Instead, pursue righteousness, holy living, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness. Compete in the good fight of faith. Grab hold of eternal life — you were called to it, and you made a good confession of it in the presence of many witnesses.”
1 Timothy 6:10-12

Words: John S. B. Monsell (1811-1875)
Music: William Jones, 1789

Awake, glad soul! awake! awake!
Thy Lord has risen long;
Go to His grave, and with thee take
Both tuneful heart and song.

Where life is waking all around,
Where love’s sweet voices sing,
The first bright blossom may be found
Of an eternal spring.

The shade and gloom of life are fled
This resurrection day;
Henceforth in Christ are no more dead,
The grave hath no more prey.

In Christ we live, in Christ we sleep,
In Christ we wake and rise,
And the sad tears death makes us weep,
He wipes from all our eyes.

And every bird and every tree,
And every opening flower,
Proclaim His glorious victory,
His resurrection power.

The folds are glad, the fields rejoice,
With vernal verdure spread,
The little hills lift up their voice
And shout that death is dead.

Then wake, glad heart! awake! awake
And seek Thy risen Lord;
Joy in His resurrection take,
And comfort in His Word.

And let thy life, through all its ways,
One long thanksgiving be:
Its theme of joy, its song of praise—
Christ died, and rose for me.

>from NetHymnal at

I used to think that I needed to get all my motives straightened out before I could pray, really pray. I would be in some prayer group, for example, and I would examine what I had just prayed and think to myself, "How utterly foolish and self-centered; I can't pray this way!" And so I would determine never to pray again until my motives were pure. You understand, I did not want to be a hypocrite. I knew that God is holy and righteous. I knew that prayer is no magic incantation. I knew that I must not use God for my own ends. But the practical effect of all this internal soul-searching was to completely paralyze my ability to pray.”
Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home


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.]

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The Common English Bible

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If a stealth bomber crashes in a forest, will it make a sound?
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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