Connecting man to man to God
For week of June 26, 2011
Issue 362

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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I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus.”
Phil 1:6 (CEB)

"We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount."
Omar N. Bradley, American general (1893-1981)

In a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, most evangelical Protestant leaders who live in the Global South (58%) say that evangelical Christians are gaining influence on life in their countries. By contrast, most leaders who live in the Global North (66%) say that, in the societies in which they live, evangelicals are losing influence. U.S. evangelical leaders are especially downbeat about the prospects for evangelical Christianity in their society; 82% say evangelicals are losing influence in the United States today, while only 17% think evangelicals are gaining influence.

In general, evangelical leaders who live in the Global South (sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East/North Africa, Latin America and most of Asia) are optimistic about the prospects for evangelicalism in their countries, while those who live in the Global North (Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand) tend to be more pessimistic. Seven-in-ten evangelical leaders who live in the Global South (71%) expect that five years from now the state of evangelicalism in their countries will be better than it is today. But a majority of evangelical leaders in the Global North expect that the state of evangelicalism in their countries will either stay about the same (21%) or worsen (33%) over the next five years.... Read this in full at

by Mark Galli
There are questions, and then there are questions. In the book Love Wins, there are lots of questions — 86 in the first chapter alone.

Questions driven by faith and questions driven by self-justification can sound very similar. Sometimes they can be identical in their wording, but they are not identical in their motives. A question can be grounded in trust in God's goodness — or it can be a demand for a sign. God is pleased with the former, but not so pleased with the latter.

As Jesus put it, "Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign" (Matthew 16:4). The demand for signs is a demand for proof. It's a clue that the heart is not right. It's putting God on trial. We don the judge's robes and climb into the judicial bench, looking down at the accused.

The problem with requests for signs is that they mask unbelief — and ultimately they become an attempt to justify a lack of faith. Such is the case with the theologian described in Luke 10, whose questions prompt Jesus to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan. Asked how one gains eternal life, Jesus answers clearly, but the theologian only asks another question because, as Luke notes, "the man wanted to justify his actions" (verse 29).

Questions driven by a demand for signs never cease — and they never satisfy. The unfortunate conclusion in the Gospel of John is, "Despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him" (John 12:37).
The point is that questions are not just questions. There is no such thing as a neutral inquiry when it comes to questions about God.... Read this in full at

What does this desire and this inability of ours proclaim to us but that there was once in man a genuine happiness, of which nothing now survives but the mark and the empty outline; and this he vainly tries to fill from everything that lies around him, seeking from things that are not there the help that he does not get from those that are present? Yet they are quite incapable of filling the gap, because this infinite gulf can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object -- that is, God, Himself. He alone is man's veritable good, and since man has deserted Him it is a strange thing that there is nothing in nature that has not been capable of taking His place for man: stars, sky, earth, elements, plants, cabbages, leeks, animals, insects, calves, serpents, fever, plague, war, famine, vices, adultery, incest. And since he has lost the true good, everything can equally appear to him as such -- even his own destruction, though that is so contrary at once to God, to reason, and to nature.”
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensees (Thoughts) [1660], P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #425, p. 138-139

by Read Mercer Schuchardt
The band is rockin', arms are swayin', and your pastor is about to come on screen in high definition with such stunning visual clarity that even people in the nosebleed seats can see your perfect smile.

Is this a rock concert? A beer commercial? Or just a typical Sunday morning?

These days, it could be any of the above.

Whether you're a questioning congregant, a concerned pastor, or a perplexed professor studying the effects of media on religious practice (like me), the use of technology in the worship setting is worth considering.

Media are not neutral. Like ideas, they have consequences, especially in the church. And some of these consequences should give us pause. In Technopoly media theorist Neil Postman writes, "A preacher who confines himself to considering how a medium can increase his audience will miss the significant question: In what sense do new media alter what is meant by religion, by church, even by God?" .... Read this in full at

Don't let anyone tell you that you have been somehow cut out of your Father's will, or for some reason have been disinherited. Don't let some moral failure in your life wag an accusatory finger at you, telling you that you do not qualify.

[When Jesus] instituted the covenant meal and introduced his disciples to the ‘new covenant in My blood’ (Luke 22:20), Jesus declared the transition in their relationship from servant-master to one of covenant friendship. As friends, they were now in a position to possess as their very own whatever he had received from the Father.

The wonder of the new covenant is that God cut a covenant with himself! He became man in his son, Jesus Christ. Then, as man, he fully satisfied his own demands for righteousness, shed his own blood as a sacrifice for man's failure to live up to those righteous demands, and by that same blood he cut a covenant with himself on man's behalf.

Now, through the new birth, we are united with Christ in that sacrificial death and are raised with him to enter into the enjoyment of communion with God and participation in the Son's inheritance of all that belonged to the Father. By that same death and birth we have died to the law and been born into a new relationship with Christ... The law has no jurisdiction or influence on a dead man. Instead, by his union with Christ, he now lives in the freedom of no longer being under law but under grace (see Rom. 6:14).
In Christ we are in covenant with God.
In Christ we become his children and therefore his heirs.”
Excerpt from The Birthright: Out of the Servants' Quarters, Into the Father's House, by John Sheasby with Ken Gire

When Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Douglas Carver retires from the Army in July, the US Army's Chief of Chaplains will take with him experiences with the armed forces' men and women that have helped form and transform him.

The first Southern Baptist in more than 50 years to assume the role of Army Chief of Chaplains in 2007, the two-star general will retire after more than 38 years of service.

"I don't use the word retirement," he notes. "This is a transition. God has ordered up something special beyond the Army. I don't know what it is, but it's something exciting."

In his final weeks of duty, Carver has "little white space on my calendar." He returned from an April base circulation in Afghanistan to an array of stateside visits and appearances -- among them the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix.

The busyness has done little to quell the emotion or distract him from the swell of memories..... Read this in full at

Thomas Lynch is a mortician-poet who has written a surprisingly witty book called The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade. He tells how often people instruct him about what kind of funerals they want, and his response is always the same: ‘The dead don't care.’ One of them is a wealthy, worldly Irish priest who rides in a big car and has his eye on the cardinal’s job. ‘No bronze coffin for me,’ he tells Lynch at the cemetery one day. ‘No orchids or roses or limousines. The plain pine box is the one I want, a quiet Low Mass and the pauper’s grave. No pomp and circumstance.’

The priest pictures his corpse as a model of piety and simplicity. He is actually moved at the thought of having chosen such a humble and austere send-off. Lynch points out that he doesn’t have to wait till he dies; he could actually give simplicity a go today. Quit the country club and do his hacking at the public links; trade in his brougham for a used Chevy; give away his Florsheims and cashmeres and prime ribs.

Lynch offers to help him with this, to distribute his savings and credit cards among the worthy poor of the parish, and then, when the sad duty called, bury him for free in the manner to which he would by then have become accustomed. This suggestion is not met with enthusiasm. ‘What I was trying to tell the fellow was, of course, that being a dead saint is no more worthwhile than being a dead angelfish. Living is the run, and always has been. This is the central fact of my business - there is nothing, once you are dead, that can be done to you or with you that will do you any good or harm. The dead don't care.’

Ask yourself, ‘If I were to die, would I have any regrets about my stuff?’ The time to start giving is today.”
John Ortberg in When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box

Mission Network News (MNN), a service of Cornerstone University, has issued a challenge to change the world. To celebrate their 20 years of international radio ministry, MNN is sponsoring Challenge for Change, a month-long initiative to get people involved in short term missions this summer.

"As people begin planning their vacations and activities Challenge for Change is a call to action to include sharing their faith as part of those plans," says Greg Yoder, Executive Director.

MNN is partnering with radio affiliates in the month of July, 2011, to focus attention on local and international mission agencies and service opportunities. "We have found that many people are interested in missions, but they either don't have the information needed to motivate them to get involved or the information they do have is overwhelming and they feel as if their efforts won't have a significant impact," continues Yoder. "Challenge for Change is about demystifying mission work and showing thousands of people the power of one." .... Read this in full at

by Chuck Colson
What is the case of Anthony Weiner really all about? Well, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat has an insightful and profound take on the whole sorry affair.

Douthat writes, “In the sad case of Rep. Anthony Weiner’s virtual adultery, the Internet era’s defining vice has been thrown into sharp relief. It isn’t lust or smut or infidelity, though online life encourages all three. It’s a desperate, adolescent narcissism.”

Douthat is absolutely right. Weiner wasn’t out for sexual thrills. Opportunities for that kind of misbehavior stalk the halls of Congress.

No, Weiner, according to Douthat, was on a “pathetic quest for quasi-public validation.” Weiner’s Tweets and emails don’t reveal a man who wanted a relationship with women other than his wife. He simply wanted to show off. “Whether the congressman was tweeting photos of his upper body or bragging” about some other body part, Douthat observes, Weiner’s focus was “squarely on himself.” .... Read this in full at

The Bible,’ we are told sometimes, ‘gives us such a beautiful picture of what we should be.’ Nonsense! It gives us no picture at all. It reveals to us a fact; it tells us what we really are; it says, This is the form in which God created you, to which He has restored you; this is the work which the Eternal Son, the God of Truth and Love, is continually carrying on within you.”
Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), The Prayer-Book and the Lord's Prayer, London: Macmillan, 1880, p. 221

by Larry Stone
2011 is the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible. This year books have been published about the translation, about the KJV's influence, and even about the bi-numeral King James himself -- he was King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England and Ireland. There are conferences and exhibits. Lionsgate released an excellent movie with John Rhys-Davies presenting "The amazing tale of the birth of the King James Bible." And the National Mall in Washington, D.C., hosted a two-day King James Bible Expo.

Why all the fuss about a 400-year-old Bible translation? Over the last 60 years an incredible number of new Bible translations have been published. And with each one, the publisher has tried to convince us that the KJV is difficult to understand, told us it is inaccurate in parts, and has explained why we need that publisher's new translation. And we have tended to believe the advertising rhetoric.

But there has never been a book as important as the King James Bible to our language, to our culture, and to our faith.... Read this in full at

Ten leading Christian anti-poverty organizations have announced the launch of "58:" ( — an unprecedented alliance of global Christians, churches and faith-based poverty-fighting organizations working together to end extreme, global poverty by 2035. To achieve this ambitious goal, 58: aspires to become the largest, most unified effort ever by the global Church to help the 1.4 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day — a revolutionary, worldwide response to the call of Isaiah 58.

The ten international organizations collectively represent more than $800 million in annual operations and provide a conduit to support thousands of local organizations and churches doing work in more than 50 developing countries.... Read this in full at

I will make the blind walk a road they don’t know, and I will guide them in paths they don’t know.”
Isa. 42:16a (CEB)

To do his work God does not send a book of metaphysics or a sacred book of Gnostic revelations or a complete epistemological system or a perfected wisdom. He sends a man.”
Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), The Subversion of Christianity, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1986, p. 24

by Martin E. Marty
Backlash against the hyper-institutionalism of religious organizations in the 1950s led first to revolt (“the sixties”) and the birth of a lifestyle summarized in the mantra, “I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual.” Today some returnees are nervy enough to lash back with an opposite mantra: “I’m not spiritual, but I’m religious.” Neither pole is a bargain. “Spiritual” often comes across as pridefully individualistic. Other believers and seekers don’t live up to their standards. But “religious?” Brought up on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth—who wrote a section on “Religion als Unglaube,” (“Religion as Unbelief”) —newer generations have not tried to acquire bragging rights about “organized religion.” Between and beyond them is another cohort who simply don’t care for either. Most of them tend to be young post-believers, who have the reputation of shrugging a shrug in the apathetic mode.... Read this in full at

Jack Van Impe, a popular End Times broadcaster, has ended his decades-long run on Trinity Broadcasting Network after a dispute over naming ministers that he accuses of mixing Christian and Muslim beliefs.

In early June, Van Impe named California megachurch founders Rick Warren and Robert H. Schuller as proponents of "Chrislam," which he defined as "a uniting of Christianity with Islam." TBN pulled the episode before a repeat broadcast could air.

Michigan-based Jack Van Impe Ministries said its board of directors decided unanimously June 17 to no longer work with TBN.

"We would not be able to minister effectively if we had to look over our shoulder wondering if a program was going to be censored because of mentioning a name," said Ken Vancil, executive director of the ministry, in a statement.... Read this in full at

People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”
D. A. Carson (b. 1946), For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God's Word, v. II [1999], reprint, Good News Publishers, 2006, Jan. 23

by John Ortberg
Somebody asked me recently: "How's the church going?" How do you answer that? Is it going well if you make the budget? Or fill a building? Or beat last year's average attendance? Is it determined by comparing your congregation to how other churches are doing? Of course the tricky part is figuring out how God thinks we're doing. What does he want of us?

I can think of three possible gauges that might guide our response.... Read this in full at

It's an irony of American culture: The vast majority of churches nationwide are small, but society measures success most often by ever-increasing numerical growth.

However, in the pages of its July/August 2011 issue, Outreach magazine celebrates Small Church America with profiles of five smaller churches that are redefining success -- and changing lives -- by focusing on the number that matters most: 1. Influencing one life at a time with God's love, these churches and others like them are overcoming social divides and making a difference in their communities.

"I think this was one of Outreach magazine's best issues ever -- and a very important one," says Dan Kimball, teaching pastor at Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, Calif., and an Outreach columnist.... Read this in full at

by Owen Strachan
The first and most basic of parental duties is to protect one's children in a physical and especially a spiritual sense (Eph. 6:4). This involves training little girls to be modest and chaste, and to exude Christocentric virtue, not to be forward and promiscuous. If these ideals sound Victorian, antiquated to modern ears, they are actually much more historical (see 1 Tim. 2:9-10).... Read this in full at

Thy will be done means more than thy will be borne. No matter what sorrow invades our life, we are still to do God's will. We shall see afterwards that the sorrow rightly accepted fitted us to do some new duty, or to do our old duty more effectively. ‘Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth,’ is the right cry in the hour of bewildering grief.”
Maltbie D. Babcock (1858-1901), Thoughts for Every-day Living, New York: C. Scribner's sons, 1901, p. 122

When the pastor of one of the nation’s largest churches shot and killed an unarmed man who entered his study threatening him, the whole nation took notice.

J. Frank Norris, the controversial pastor of First Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, who earlier had been indicted but acquitted on arson and perjury charges after his church burned, stood trial for first-degree capital murder—and beat the rap.

The courtroom drama drew page-one attention in newspapers across the country in the mid-1920s. But today, more people know Norris for his part in denominational schisms than for his role as defendant in a high-profile murder trial.

Nearly 40 years ago, David Stokes first heard about how Norris shot and killed D.E. Chipps, a wealthy Fort Worth lumberman and close friend of Mayor Henry Clay Meacham -- whom Norris defamed both in the pulpit and in print. Stokes found the story captivating, and he began to collect material related to the event. “It had all the elements of a powerful drama,” he said.... Read this in full at

by David Briggs
A Hollywood evangelist carrying a 12-foot wooden cross led some 200 Southern Baptists down the heart of the nation’s gambling capital in 1989, handing out gospel tracts during the denomination’s annual meeting in Las Vegas.

The decision to meet in Sin City evoked controversy, with some Southern Baptists deciding to stay home rather than bring their families to a city built on the vices they oppose. Church leaders presented it as an opportunity to emphasize evangelism in a growing region.

Thus, the march down the center of The Strip in 109-degree heat. “We’re on the way to Ceasar’s Palace. We’ve got another place. That is God’s palace. Let’s take people there,” encouraged the evangelist, Arthur Blessitt.

More than two decades later, the multibillion dollar gambling industry continues to grow as states expand lotteries and make way for casinos in the hopes of raising revenue that do not require tax hikes.

Still, efforts to oppose the personal and social ills of gambling by a broad range of religious groups, from Southern Baptists to United Methodists, have not been in vain, according to a developing body of research.... Read this in full at

by Patrick Morley
Here is the logical starting point for prayer: There is nothing for which we cannot pray, and there is nothing God cannot do. This opens up "everything" as subjects for prayer.

Prayer is the "language" God has made available for us to communicate with Him. It is the "voice" He hears. Prayer allows us to engage God in meaningful conversation.

Prayer is God's designated means of pouring our hearts out to Him, of personal relationship, of communion, of praising and worshiping Him, of getting our needs met or interceding for others, of ushering the kingdom of God into human affairs.

Prayer is our means to seek and receive forgiveness, pledge allegiance to Jesus, express gratitude for his "goodness and unfailing love that will pursue me all the days of my life" (Psalm 23:6 NLT). Prayer is the means of healing, of mercy, of grace, of wisdom and guidance, and of filling by the Holy Spirit.

Though God doesn't answer audibly, the Bible says He does answer when we pray according to His will: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us -- whatever we ask -- we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15). Suggest men ask themselves, "Who would know better if a prayer should be answered the way you want -- you or God?" Teach your men to trust that God has their best interests in mind.

Pray regularly with your wife (if married) or an accountability partner. Try praying with your wife every day. Take "The Marriage Prayer Challenge" at

Prayer is hard work, but it is the only work that releases the power of the kingdom of God into our human actions.

A human vaccine has successfully been used to cure prostate cancer in mice, according to a report published in the journal Nature Medicine. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the UK assembled DNA libraries which included some healthy prostate DNA, put them in virus shells and injected them into the mice.... Read this in full at

If we are to love our enemies, we must make our common life a visible exercise and demonstration of that love. If content and thankfulness, if the patient bearing of evil be duties to God, they are the duties of every day, and in every circumstance of our life.”
William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 10

Consider everyone as equal and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead associate with people with no status.”
Rom. 12:16a (CEB)

Words & Music: Isaiah G. Martin, 1906

There are people almost everywhere
Whose hearts are all aflame
With the fire that fell at Pentecost,
Which made them all acclaim;
It is burning now within my heart—
All glory to His Name!—
And I’m glad that I can say I’m one of them.

One of them (one of them), one of them (one of them),
I am glad that I can say I’m one of them;
One of them (one of them), one of them (one of them),
I am glad that I can say I’m one of them.

Though the people may not learnèd be,
Nor boast of worldly fame,
They have all received their Pentecost,
Through faith in Jesus’ Name;
And are telling now, both far and wide,
His power is yet the same,
And I’m glad that I can say I’m one of them.

They were gathered in the upper room,
All praying in His Name,
They were baptized in the Holy Ghost,
And power for service came;
Now what He did for them that day
He’ll do for you the same,
And I’m glad that I can say I’m one of them.

Come, my brother seek this blessing
That will cleanse your heart from sin,
That will start the joy bells ringing
And will keep the soul aflame;
It is burning now within my heart—
All glory to His Name!—
And I’m glad that I can say I’m one of them.

>from NetHymnal at

"Unless in the first waking moment of the day you learn to fling the door wide back and let God in, you will work on a wrong level all day; but swing the door wide open and pray to your Father in secret, and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God."
Oswald Chambers


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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Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

Harvard Business Review blogs

The Best Place to Store Condiments

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.)

Change is good as long as I don't have to do anything differently.
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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