Connecting man to man to God
For week of August 21, 2011
Issue 370

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 not ashamed of the gospel: it is God’s own power for salvation to all who have faith in God, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16 (CEB)

“The God of the infinite is the God of the infinitesimal.”
Blaise Pascal

58: is a Christ-centered global initiative to end extreme poverty. The name comes from Isaiah 58 where God desires that his people carry out a True Fast, one that cares for the poor and oppressed. Learn more at

About the same time the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution denouncing one new Bible translation, another rolled off the presses that is being billed as “built on common ground.”

The Common English Bible debuted in June and the paperback format was introduced July 13 at the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta.

Sponsored by an alliance of five mainline denominations, the contemporary English translation from the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts is the work of 120 biblical scholars in 24 different denominations. They represent various ethnic groups and theology schools ranging the spectrum from the conservative Wheaton College and Denver Seminary to the liberal Princeton and Yale.

Scott Spencer, professor of preaching and New Testament at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and one of 17 Baptists included, called it “one of the highlights of my academic and ministerial vocation.”

Paul Franklyn, associate publisher for the Common English Bible, described the four-year project as “collaboration between opposites.” That includes not only liberals and conservatives, but also scholars working with general readers, teens with senior adults, men, women and different ethnicities all working toward a goal of a “denomination-neutral” Bible for the 21st century.

Translators set out to combine scholarly accuracy with vivid everyday language. It is written in common language, similar to USA Today style, and the first Bible translation to widely use contractions where the text is in conversational style, as opposed to poetic or divine pronouncement. It uses detailed color maps from National Geographic, well known for accuracy.... Read this in full at

by Chuck Colson and Timothy George
Can freedom survive where virtue doesn't thrive? It was an important question for the founders of the American republic, and it is a timely one for today.

The Founding Fathers saw the critical connection: They pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to defend the self-evident truths "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

We understand life and liberty as foundational, but happiness? The problem with happiness as it is defined today lies in the little word hap, chance. Happiness is circumstantial. It depends on what happens to give us pleasure or fulfillment. But the founders understood happiness in the classical sense of what the Greeks called eudaimonia, that is, the result of a life well lived, a life based on truth and virtue.

Christians know something else: true virtue, and hence genuine happiness, is not merely a matter of thinking correctly or behaving properly. As Jonathan Edwards put it, the seat of true virtue is in the heart. Real happiness flows from character and comes to those, as Jesus said, who are poor in spirit, merciful and meek, and who hunger and thirst for righteousness and peace.... Read this in full at

“Teach me to watch over all my ways, that I may never be surprised by sudden temptations or a careless spirit, nor ever return to folly and vanity. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips, that I offend not in my tongue, neither against piety nor charity. Teach me to think of nothing but Thee, and what is in order to Thy glory and service; to speak nothing but Thee and Thy glories; and to do nothing but what becomes Thy servant, whom Thy infinite mercy by the graces of Thy Holy Spirit hath sealed up to the day of redemption.”
Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living [1650], in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 35

With 12 minutes left in the game, the Charlotte Eagles are losing 2-0. The North Carolina humidity hangs thick in the evening air. The home crowd becomes restless as the opposing team's goalie blocks kick after kick.

But the team gets a big break in the 78th minute and scores twice in two minutes against the Rochester Rhinos. This men’s soccer match ends in a tie. Did God bless the Eagles with those goals?

“I don’t think God cares if we win or lose,” Eagles captain Josh Rife says, shrugging.

Coach Mark Steffens agrees: “Our No. 1 goal is not winning games. Our goal is to bring glory to God.” .... Read this in full at

Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossip, Mary was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sarah was impatient, Elijah was moody, Moses stuttered, Zaccheus was short, Abraham was old and Lazarus was dead. Now..... what's YOUR reason for thinking God won't use you?

God CAN use you where you are...if you let him! :)

“Think twice before you eat what society feeds us, come follow the king, his name is Jesus.” Watch this video of a young man “rapping” a powerful message....

by Al Hsu
John Stott is being remembered as an evangelical statesman, a pastor/scholar, and an inveterate birdwatcher. He was also a lifelong bachelor. While researching my book on a theology of singleness, I had the opportunity to meet Stott and interview him about his views and experience as a single. He later revised and expanded his candid remarks into a more thorough treatment of the subject, from which the following is excerpted.

On the balance of marriage and singleness:
We must never exalt singleness (as some early church fathers did, notably Tertullian) as if it were a higher and holier vocation than marriage. We must reject the ascetic tradition which disparages sex as legalized lust, and marriage as legalized fornication. No, no. Sex is the good gift of a good Creator, and marriage is his own institution.

If marriage is good, singleness is also good. It's an example of the balance of Scripture that, although Genesis 2:18 indicates that it is good to marry, 1 Corinthians 7:1 (in answer to a question posed by the Corinthians) says that "it is good for a man not to marry." So both the married and the single states are "good"; neither is in itself better or worse than the other.... Read this in full at

“In almost two decades of marriage, Lisa and I have settled into certain habits like an old pair of jeans. When we come back from a trip, Lisa invariably checks the phone messages while I unload the car. Lisa hates filling up the car's gas tank, so before I leave on a trip, I try to make sure it's full. If Lisa knows I'm coming home, she'll nurse that tank until she's riding on nothing more than fumes. I don't resent this, and Lisa doesn't resent the fact that she's usually folding laundry when she watches a movie while I just sit there like an all-star couch potato.

“We're not just after the imitation of Christ's actions in our home; we also want to model Christ's spirit and attitude. There are times to serve, and times to receive service. The beauty of this commitment is that it makes both Lisa and me God-dependent rather than spouse-dependent. If Lisa is faithfully serving me when I'm in a surly mood, she still receives an inner affirmation and sense of fulfillment from God. She has the joy of that inner witness declaring that her Creator is pleased with her.

“To become a servant is to become radically strong spiritually. It means you are free from the petty demands and grievances that ruin so many lives and turn so many hearts into bitter cauldrons of disappointment and self-pity. There is true joy when true service is offered up with a true heart. I've learned to guard not just my servant's actions but my servant's spirit. If I serve Lisa with little puffs of exasperation, grunting every time I lift a finger on her behalf, I'm exhibiting a proud, false-martyr's spirit, not the attitude of Jesus Christ. The attitude of Jesus is the attitude of service: ‘The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve’ (Matthew 20:28). Every Christian home should be marked by the spirit as well as the act of service.”
Gary Thomas in Simply Sacred: Daily Readings

by John Wilson
Until this month, John Candide had taught religion at Calvin College, affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church, for 25 years. But his "fall from grace," as the website InsideHigherEd put it, came after he "wrote about challenges science poses to a literal reading of the gospels." For that offense, he has agreed to leave his tenured teaching job.

As Mr. Candide explains, he recently became troubled by conflicts between science and literal readings of gospel accounts of Jesus' resurrection: "The more I read, the more I talked with biologists, the more it became clear to me: science tells us that when people die, they stay dead." He adds that he continues to believe in the importance of the Bible.

In their joint statement, Mr. Candide and Calvin College said that they agreed to part ways because of tensions raised by his scholarship and a desire not to create "harm and distraction." Despite this peaceful resolution, his departure raises questions about freedom of scholarship at the college.

Or not — I invented John Candide. The actual story at InsideHigherEd, from which I have borrowed liberally above, was a bit different. The alleged offense involved challenges posed by science to a literal reading of Genesis, not of Jesus' resurrection. And the professor in question is named John Schneider.... Read this in full at

by Austin Dacey
Having followed the debates on religion and freedom of expression at the United Nations over the last several years, I have become accustomed to passing on bad news, such as a decade of resolutions by the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly “combating the defamation of religions.” Now that there is some good news, almost no one has noticed.

In July, the UN issued a new statement on the extent of freedom of speech under international law. It says that laws restricting blasphemy as such are incompatible with universal human rights standards.... Read this in full at

by Martin E. Marty
“Let’s you and him fight!” The old comic-book trope is good advice for bystanders as Mark Galli’s God Wins counters Rob Bell and his book Love Wins. The two are respected evangelical leaders, an editor and a pastor, who attract headlines and readerships as they debate “Heaven, Hell” and the “Good News.” Their subject is a meaningful alternative to the otherwise preoccupying evangelicals’ debates over homosexuality and abortion. “The Good News” is a debate over whether “Love Wins” or “God Wins,” and those who hear the biblical word that “God is Love” may have trouble telling the players without a program. Both sides agree that this is all about “the ultimate fate of human beings,” a classic concern of all who believe that there is an afterlife.

What follows is not a taunt but a challenge: let us have a Volume Two, especially from Galli. He offers soft but evangelically-orthodox answers to most questions which Bell posed last year in his book. But he slights the biggest, hardest, most troubling questions about the love and justice of God. He is anthropocentric, of course, but his “anthro-” who asks questions and ponders fate tends to be someone familiar with the biblical questions with which serious apologists for centuries have dealt as they set out “to justify the ways of God to man” (and woman).... Read this in full at

25 years to the day – Wisconsin-based escape artist and evangelist Anthony Martin ( will return to the jail that earned him the title of "King of Escapists" by Ripley's Believe It Or Not. This special anniversary escape attempt will be on August 22, at 1:30 P.M. The event will take place at the old Waushara County Jail, located at 221 South St. Marie Street in Wautoma, Wisconsin.

Martin says he uses his escapes as a metaphor for escaping eternal death through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Martin's successful escape in 1986 was from one of the general population cells in the jail. For this attempt Anthony will be locked in a double door solitary confinement cell that no one in the history of the facility has ever escaped from.

The jail now turned museum, gained fame for having once housed Edward Gein, "America's most bizarre murderer." The Gein case was the horror story on which Hitchcock's movie "Psycho" and the film "Silence of the Lambs" were based. Martin, who last year handily survived a shackled jump from an airplane at 14,000 feet, will be placed in a strait-jacket and strapped to a ladder before being locked behind the 4 steel doors that will stand between him and freedom.... Read this in full at

“In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”
Colossians 2:9-10 (NIV)

“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. Faith is the belief that God will do what is right.”
Max Lucado

by Paul Tripp
The Bible is honest about life in this fallen world. This honesty is a sign of God's love. He's the wise and gentle father preparing his child for that walk through a tough neighborhood on the first day of school. He's the faithful friend praying with you before you face an unusual challenge. He's the caring physician informing you of what to expect from the disease he's just diagnosed.

A primary goal of all this diagnosis, description, warning, comfort, and counsel is to call us to certain ways of living. Why would you need to be "completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love," (Ephesians 4:2-3) if you were not living in a community of flawed people where this kind of character is essential? Relationships in a fallen world are hard. Ministry to flawed people is fraught with difficulty. Character is needed because the world is broken.

In being honest, the Bible welcomes you to be honest as well. In its refusal to minimize, diminish, or deny the harsh realities of this broken-down house, the Bible calls us to face the facts as well. Things are not okay around us or inside us. The brokenness presses in on every side. What should we do with all this? Let me suggest five ways to pursue the character qualities to which God calls us, and in that way prepare ourselves to participate more effectively in the great task of restoration.... Read this in full at

by James Emery White
The real mistake when it comes to the Bible isn't getting our quotes of the Scriptures just right, it's failing to get right with the Scriptures.... Read this in full at

by Cathleen Falsani
A week or two after the 2004 election, I was dining with some friends in New York when the conversation turned to religion and politics — the two things that you’re never supposed to discuss in polite company.

George W. Bush had just been re-elected with the help of what was described in the media as “evangelical voters.” And knowing that I am an evangelical Christian, my friends were terribly curious.

“What, exactly, is an evangelical?” one gentleman asked, as if he were inquiring about my time living among the lowland gorillas of Cameroon. I suddenly found myself as cultural translator for the evangelical mind.

“As I understand it,” I began, “what `evangelical’ really means is that a person believes in Jesus Christ, has a personal relationship with him and because of that relationship feels compelled to share their experience of God’s love with other people.

“How they choose to share that `good news’ with others is entirely up to the individual. Beyond that, the rest is details and style.” .... Read this in full at

Truth be told, when asked to name a spiritual role model, few people would likely pick a sitting US senator.

In fact, with congressional approval ratings at record lows, few lawmakers -- Democrats or Republicans -- would seem to qualify as a profile in righteousness.

But two new books this summer, Sen. Jim DeMint's "The Great American Awakening" and Sen. Joe Lieberman's "The Gift of Rest," are trying to push back against the image of a godless Senate.

To be sure, DeMint and Lieberman have differences both political and religious: DeMint is a Tea Party Republican from South Carolina and a self-described "follower of Christ," while Lieberman, an observant Jew from Connecticut, is a sometimes unpredictable Independent.

But their books offer equally intimate glimpses into the spiritual lives of America's elected officials.... Read this in full at

In a television interview with FOX News, Pew Forum Senior Researcher Brian J. Grim discusses findings from the Pew Forum's recent report Rising Restrictions on Religion ( The report finds that more than 2.2 billion people - nearly a third (32%) of the world's total population of 6.9 billion - live in countries where either government restrictions on religion or social hostilities involving religion have risen substantially.... View this in full at

God is tough to find in popular music these days.

Religion writer Joe Carter went looking recently and found that among the top 60 country songs, 23 include at least one theme of family, faith, and God.

"And yet, the music world still considers it peculiar," Carter writes. "The willingness of country musicians to talk about God, family, and other topics counted among the most important in people's lives is considered aberrant. Compared to other pop music genres, this strain of country is definitely eccentric."

But beyond the "music world," is country music more in step with traditional American values?.... Read this in full at

Moses is a cartoon with a big head, a small body and beady black button eyes with a spiky grey beard and spongy grey hair in a new game on Facebook.

The art style is meant to reflect "the casual social game" that it is, says Brent Dusing, CEO of Hexify, creator of the first biblically based Facebook game, The Journey of Moses. "It's a fun, immersive, adventure game, so it's meant to be fun but respectful to the content and appropriate for the gravity of the story."

Dusing says "300 million people play social games on Facebook." That's close to the population of the United States, so his target audience is "anyone from 13 to over 70 ... it's a timeless story that billions around the world know."

At the beginning of the game, pharoah's daughter, reminiscent of a Cleopatra bobble-head, picks up a bundled baby Moses and cradles him in her arms.... Read this in full at

Tucked away in a nondescript office park in northern Kentucky, Noah's followers are rebuilding his ark.

The biblical wooden ship built to weather a worldwide flood was 500 feet long and about 80 feet high, according to Answers in Genesis, a Christian ministry devoted to a literal telling of the Old Testament.

This modern ark, to be nestled on a plot of 800 acres of rolling Kentucky farmland, isn't designed to rescue the world's creatures from a coming deluge. It's to tell the world that the Bible's legendary flood story was not a fable, but a part of human history.... Read this in full at

Texas Baptists are partnering with a non-denominational ministry to harness online language-translation technology that advocates say could be the best tool for cross-cultural evangelism since Pentecost.

Called Hope Chat, the tool harnesses the power of ABBY, an advanced online artificial intelligence translation platform developed at Carnegie Mellon University. It allows people to converse across languages in real time about spiritual matters, and the technology contextually translates what people type, allowing cross-language conversations to take place.

Wayne Shuffield, director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Evangelism/Missions Center, said language and culture are two historical barriers to sharing the gospel. He said the ABBY system removes one of those barriers, enabling Christians to build bridges to people around the globe. .... Read this in full at

by James A. Smith Sr.
You don't have to be a Florida Gator to love Tim Tebow. Indeed, I'm certain many -- like me -- have become Gators because they were first fans of Tebow.

Before Tebow's emergence as a college football phenom, I was a nominal Florida State Seminole fan. After all, it's hard not to love Bobby Bowden (especially as a Florida Baptist), and my daughter is a rabid Seminole.

However, during Tebow's freshman year at the University of Florida, I began to cheer for the Gators -- in the closet, I would joke later with friends, so as to not enrage my daughter. In his second year, I publicly declared my admiration (what my Tennessee Volunteer son-in-law calls my "man crush") for Tebow, living with the consequential familial conflict.... Read this in full at

There is dead and there is dying. The Dead Sea manages both. It's dead because the water in it contains way, way too much salt — eight times as much as the oceans — for virtually any living thing to survive. With a shoreline at the lowest land point on the globe — 1,388 ft. below sea level — and no outlet, millennia of evaporation has left the seabed so caked with minerals the freshwater that flows in turns immediately lethal.

Not that much freshwater flows in these days. That's why the sea is dying, or drying up, at the rate of more than 3 vertical feet (1 m) per year — which on the gradual slope of the western shore can translate into 65 ft. of exposed seabed. Most of the damage has been done in the last half-century, when almost all the water that once reached the Dead Sea was diverted to farms and taps. The Jordan River, so mighty in the Bible, is today a puny creek that draws snarls from disappointed tourists. "Everything changed when we started diverting water from the Sea of Galilee," says Mira Edelstein of Friends of the Earth Middle East. "The Jordan River used to bring 1.3 billion cu. ft. of water a year. Today it's 50 million. That's 2% of what it was." .... Read this in full at,8599,2084164,00.html#ixzz1TJ8dD7YQ

by Terry Mattingly
There is nothing unusual about a priest who is dressed in clerical garb having a stranger ask him a religious question during a long airline flight.

"You ask a guy where he's from and what he does and then he asks you the same thing. Many people just want to talk," explained the Rev. John David Finley, a missionary priest in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

The man in the next seat recently asked the priest a question he has heard many times: "What is Orthodox Christianity, anyway?"

Ironically, Finley was -- at that moment -- writing some comments about a contest in which participants prepared a 30-second "elevator speech" response to strangers who asked that very question. The contest was organized by the archdiocesan Department of Missions and Evangelism, Finley's home base.

This particular man was a convert to Buddhism, although he was raised in a home that was Christian, to one degree or another. He was interested in how different churches interpret Scripture and how Eastern Christians pray.... Read this in full at

Does European Christendom need Christianity to survive? It may seen an odd question for a religious culture that once stretched from Britain to the Bosphorus, born of a deep and diffuse faith that inspired great cathedrals and monasteries and filled them with believers for centuries.

But when right-wing extremist Anders Breivik killed 77 people in a horrific rampage in Norway last month, he highlighted a novel development in the history of the West: a burgeoning alliance between believers and nonbelievers to promote Europe's Christian identity.

"European Christendom and the cross will be the symbol in which every cultural conservative can unite under in our common defense," Breivik wrote in his rambling 1,500-page manifesto. "It should serve as the uniting symbol for all Europeans whether they are agnostic or atheists."

Whether Breivik himself can be considered a bona fide Christian given his lack of a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God," as he put it, was a topic of much debate. There was no doubt, however, that he was a devout believer "in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform." In fact, that's been the case for any number of unbelievers for more than a decade.... Read this in full at

Wiccan and pagan students at Vanderbilt University might get to take an excused day off from class to dance around the maypole.

Vanderbilt's Office of Religious Life recently sent professors a calendar of 2011-12 "religious holy days and observances" and a related policy on student absences. The faith listed next to four of the days on the calendar is "Wicca/Pagan."
Wicca, whose believers are called Wiccans or witches, is just one form of paganism, an umbrella term for beliefs in multiple gods and goddesses. Some religious believers consider paganism to be outside the mainstream because it bucks the monotheistic tradition of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.... Read this in full at

“You have an exceptional calling- to be the very best you God created you to be. Your goal is to unwrap this gift and use all that you've been given in the pursuit of what matters most- loving God and loving other people.”
Kerry Shook

“I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.”
Psalm 119:7 (NIV)

Words: Albert B. Simpson, 1890
Music: James H. Burke

Jesus only is our message,
Jesus all our theme shall be;
We will lift up Jesus ever,
Jesus only will we see.

Jesus only, Jesus ever,
Jesus all in all we sing,
Savior, Sanctifier, and Healer,
Glorious Lord and coming King.

Jesus only is our Savior,
All our guilt He bore away,
All our righteousness He gives us,
All our strength from day to day.

Jesus is our Sanctifier,
Cleansing us from self and sin,
And with all His Spirit’s fullness,
Filling all our hearts within.

Jesus only is our Healer,
All our sicknesses He bare,
And His risen life and fullness,
All His members still may share.

Jesus only is our Power,
He the Gift of Pentecost,
Jesus, breathe Thy pow’r upon us,
Fill us with the Holy Ghost.

And for Jesus we are waiting,
List’ning for the advent call;
But ’twill still be Jesus only,
Jesus ever, all in all.

>from NetHymnal at

“Prayer is the contact of a living soul with God. In prayer, God stoops to kiss man, to bless man, and to aid in everything that God can devise or man can need. Prayer fills man's emptiness with God's fullness. It fills man's poverty with God's riches. It puts away man's weakness with God's strength. it banishes man's littleness with God's greatness. Prayer is God's plan to supply man's great and continual need with God's great and continual abundance.” E. M. Bounds (1835-1913), The Reality of Prayer, Racine: Treasres Media, Inc. 2007, p. 7


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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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.) 

It's not a REAL sponge cake unless you've borrowed all the ingredients. 
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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