to man to God
week of January 15, 2012
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
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collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and
rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them. Instead,
collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust
don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and
steal them. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be
Matthew 6:19-21 (CEB)
“Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know
so extraordinary a God.”
Jim Elliot (1927-1956), The
Journals of Jim Elliot, ed. Elisabeth Elliot, Revell, 1990, p. 98
FREEDOM SUNDAY JAN. 15
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church falls on the
second Sunday of November every year, another important Sunday is
approaching for both persecuted and free Christians.
Freedom Sunday (http://www.religiousfreedomsunday.com/)
is a day for churches to talk to their congregations about their
freedom of religious expression. Religious Freedom Sunday is Jan.
15. It will precede Religious Freedom Day
on Monday, Jan. 16.
Religious Freedom Day marks the
anniversary of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786.
It stopped the practice of taxing people to pay for the support of
the local clergy, and it protected the civil rights of people to
express their religious beliefs without suffering discrimination.
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison authored this important
legislation, which later played a major role in the development of
the First Amendment.
During Religious Freedom Sunday
churches have the opportunity to inform their congregations about
the religious liberties of public school students. It also serves
as a way for Christians to prepare for Religious Freedom Day....
Read this in full at
by Clare De Graaf
“If all my friends were blind I’d
probably drive a Taurus.” Have you ever thought about how
much pride and envy shapes so many of our decisions every day? I
have. Because, I’m smack dab in the middle of looking for a
new car and talking to my closest friend Ted about it, and he
makes the “Taurus” comment. Ted knows two things about
me for sure: My friends aren’t blind and I haven’t
been talking about Taurus’s with him. (I’ve driven
German cars for decades.)
So, what’s going on in my
head and my heart that I’d not given some perfectly good
cars any real consideration?
I have no idea how early in
life that we begin to envy what others have, or become proud of
what we own or have accomplished. Did it start with wanting a
nicer toy, bike, an A on a test, first in a foot race, or the
prettiest dress? Perhaps it was a parent that always compared us
to other kids, or to themselves. I don’t know.
this feeling we all had in common. When we got we wanted, it made
us feel good – superior. We sensed the envy of others and we
enjoyed our moment in the sun, sometimes even lying in bed at
night re-living the memory over and over. As we did and without
even realizing it, we were developing an addiction for the
affirmation of others and some of us are still full blown junkies
desperately trying to feed the habit.... Read this in full at
10 SECOND RULE
The book of James
says faith without deeds is dead. How alive is yours?
De Graaf, author of The 10 Second Rule
offers an uncomplicated, straight-forward antidote for breaking
habits of inaction and re-energizing your faith. He calls it The
10 Second Rule: just do the next thing you’re reasonably
certain Jesus wants you to do. (And do it quickly before you
change your mind.)
The 10 Second Rule will empower you to
take simple “baby steps” of obedience, as God directs
you. This is not only a “rule” you can do – it’s
one you’ll want to do!
See for yourself! Watch this
video of nationally known comedian Michael Jr. spontaneously
putting The 10 Second Rule to the test in front of an auditorium
full of people
GRASS REALLY ISN’T ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE
“If envy was not
such a tearing thing to feel it would be the most comic of sins.
It is usually, if not always, based on a complete misunderstanding
of another person's situation.”
BROTHER'S VALUABLE LIFE
How does one measure whether a life was a success, or a
Some would measure it by recognition, that is,
how many knew the person’s name. For others, the measure of
a successful life would be the amount of wealth accumulated, or
possessions held. Still others would say a life was successful if
the person made a major contribution to society — in
medicine, sports, politics, or the arts.
By that standard
my brother, Marshall Stephen Thomas, who died January 5, was a
failure. If, however, your standard for a successful life is how
that life positively touched others, then my brother’s life
was a resounding success.
Shortly after he was born in
1950, Marshall was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Some in the
medical community referred to the intellectually disabled as
“retarded” back then, long before the word became a
common schoolyard epithet. His doctors told our parents he would
never amount to anything and advised them to place him in an
institution. Back then, this was advice too often taken by parents
who were so embarrassed about having a disabled child that they
often refused to take them out in public.... Read this in full at
IT TO ME: JOHN 3:16
Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
When quarterback Tim
Tebow threw an 80-yard touchdown pass Jan. 8 to secure an overtime
victory for his Denver Broncos over the heavily favored Pittsburgh
Steelers, some saw a biblical connection.
gave Tebow, an outspoken evangelical Christian whose penchant for
last-minute heroics have given him a reputation as a miracle
worker, 316 passing yards for the game. His ten completions
averaged 31.6 yards a piece.
Those figures inspired plenty
of conversation and debate about a connection some saw to one of
the most famous verses in the Bible, John 3:16.... Watch this
explanation in full at
see “Tim Tebow’s 316 Passing Yards Evokes Biblical
SUNDAY SCHOOL BE SAVED?
school, a staple of Protestant church life in the United States in
the 20th century, is in decline, prompting some scholars to
question whether the institution has a future.
interested in reversing the trend cite factors ranging from the
proliferation of youth activities that leave today's young people
too busy for Sunday school to an increasingly secular society that
puts less value on church activities.
One effect is what
used to be common knowledge about Christianity is unknown to a
large and growing share of Americans, especially young adults.
Barna Group studies in 2010, for example, showed that while most
people regard Easter as a religious holiday, only a minority of
adults associate Easter with the resurrection of Jesus Christ....
Read this in full at
YOUNG, RELIGIOUS STARS LIKE JUSTIN BIEBER AND TIM TEBOW MAKING
What do young
superstars Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, and Tim Tebow have in
common? They believe in God, and they don't mind sharing.
Recently Justin Bieber made news with his a new tattoo —
a large portrait of the face of Jesus Christ inked on his calf.
Bieber’s ink happened to dovetail with the Denver Broncos
unlikely win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the latest in a string
un unlikely victories that their 24-year old quarterback, Tim
Tebow, regularly and publicly thanks Jesus Christ for helping him
And off in the Twitterverse, the troubled former
Disney star and singer Demi Lovato, 19 years old, took to the
social network to talk to her fans how she has put her faith in
God to get her life back on track after a stint in rehab.
are these young, hip and very public Christians in the worlds of
music, television and sports are making it cool for the highly
connected Generation Z to embrace Christianity? .... Read this in
THE BIBLE ACROSS MANHATTAN AND PHILADELPHIA
Over the past few years, New York artist Gene Schmidt has
embarked on a series of projects that have taken his work to the
streets. Combining elements of performance, pilgrimage, and
sculpture, his projects are often inspired by, or are explorations
of, biblical texts in the context of an urban environment. While
these projects are done in public for anyone to see and respond
to, for Schmidt they are spiritual journeys and lengthy prayers
with physical weight and dimension.
In Manhattan Measure,
the first of these journeys, Schmidt measured the width and length
of Manhattan—literally, with yardsticks. Inspired by the
prophet Zechariah's vision of a man going out to measure the width
and length of Jerusalem, and ending with a cross-shaped sculpture
made with the nearly 30,000 red, numbered yardsticks used, the
project took over a year to complete.... Read this in full at
MUSEUM OF CIVILIZATION EXPLORES RELIGION
A new exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civilization (CMC),
"God(s): A User's Guide," takes a look at how important
religion is in the lives of every day Canadians.
is a topic people hear a lot about in media, from fellow workers
and students and neighbours," says exhibit curator Stephen
Inglis. "But we don't know much about [their religions]. This
is a chance to present information in interesting and comparative
mode." .... Read this in full at
INTENT ON PICKING A 'FOOD FIGHT'
The pastor who became nationally known on the ABC TV show
"Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" found a passion for
physical stewardship from real-life experiences.
years ago, Steve Willis lost a good friend during heart surgery.
For years, his friend's doctor had told him to eat healthier and
lose weight. However, even the pastor joked about overeating --
until his friend died.
About the same time, Willis'
youngest son was diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder. The
youth got in trouble at school, didn't follow directions and did
poorly on assignments.
After placing the youth on
medication, the cure proved worse than the disease, said Willis,
pastor of the Huntington-area First Baptist Church in Kenova,
One day as they looked at their "zoned out"
boy, Willis said he and his wife Deanna decided they had to do
something else. Although their son was quiet, he was no longer his
true self, Willis said.
As a result, Deanna started
reading about natural, God-given solutions and eliminated sugar,
soda pop, trans-fats and hydrogenated oils from their son's diet.
"I started realizing that how we choose to eat is a
moral issue," said the pastor and author of the new book
"Winning the Food Fight.".... Read this in full at
ASKS MARRIED COUPLES TO HAVE 7 DAYS OF SEX
Several years ago Texas preacher Ed Young called on married
couples in his congregation to have sex everyday for a week. He
documents this "sexperiment" in a new book he coauthored
with his wife Lisa Young. See this interview at
CHURCHGOERS FIND THEIR EXPERIENCE LACKING
What is church life like these days for Americans, the
religious research division of Barna Group asked. "Millions
of active participants find their church experiences to be
lacking," Barna Group President David Kinnaman said in a
report released Jan. 9.
Young adults and Catholics are
among those experiencing a striking disaffection with church,
Faith leaders can't take their flocks
for granted, Kinnaman said, even though many churchgoers report
that attending provides them with a rich and diverse set of
connections to God and others.
Most people surveyed, 66%,
feel they've had a "real and personal connection with God"
at church, researchers said. Yet, when asked about frequency, they
report the encounters as "rare." And about a third of
those polled who attend said they have never felt God's presence
in the congregational setting.... Read this in full at
EXERCISES WE'D BE BETTER OFF WITHOUT IN 2012...
~ Jumping on the bandwagon
~ Wading through paperwork
~ Running around in circles
~ Pushing your luck
~ Spinning your wheels
~ Adding fuel to the fire
~ Beating your head against the wall
~ Beating your own drum
~ Dragging your
~ Jumping to conclusions
~ Grasping at
~ Fishing for compliments
~ Throwing your
~ Passing the buck
circumstances, I cried out to the LORD. The LORD answered me with
wide-open spaces. The LORD is for me — I won’t be
afraid. What can anyone do to me?”
Psalm 118:5-6 (CEB)
“What He was, He laid aside; what He was not, He
St. Gregory of Nazianzus (329-389/390),
Oration 37.2, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture:
New Testament, v. IVa, John 1-10, Joel C. Elowsky & Thomas C.
Oden, InterVarsity Press, 2006, p. 14
TO RUN AWAY FROM MERCY
think I got the joy of gift giving from my mom. I also picked up a
little idiosyncrasy. Typically, children beg their parents to open
gifts before the designated date, whether it is a birthday or
Christmas. Not in my family. My mom used to beg me to open my
gifts before the designated day because she could hardly wait to
give them. And now I do with our kids what she did with me.
Parents begging their children to open their gifts early may seem
a little dysfunctional, but this is the heart of our heavenly
Father. He can hardly wait to keep His promises. He can hardly
wait to perform His word. He can hardly wait to answer our
prayers. And when we simply take Him at His word, He can hardly
contain His joy.
“My favorite sentence in the
twenty-third psalm is this: "Surely goodness and mercy shall
follow me all the days of my life." The word follow isn't a
strong enough translation. It's a hunting term in Hebrew. It's
like God is hunting you down — but not to harm you; God is
hunting you down to bless you. He wants to show you His goodness
and His mercy, but too often we run away from it. Why? Because we
doubt His good intentions... This is why God reminds us so many
different times in many different ways and with many different
Mark Batterson in The Circle Maker: Praying
Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears
OF RANDOM PROTESTANT PASTORS: OPPOSE EVOLUTION, SPLIT ON EARTH’S
believe that God did not use evolution to create humans and think
Adam and Eve were literal people, according to a recent survey by
The survey of 1,000 American Protestant
pastors also found that ministers are almost evenly split on
whether the earth is thousands of years old.
When asked to
respond to the statement, "I believe God used evolution to
create people," 73% of pastors disagree, with 64% strongly
disagreeing and 8% somewhat disagreeing. Twelve percent each
somewhat agree and strongly agree. Four percent are not sure....
Read this in full at
THE BIBLE IS NOT A BOOK OF MORAL LAWS
by Mark Galli
It has often been said that our culture has
lost its moorings. Like many times and places in history, ours is
an era when everyone does what is right in his own eyes (cf.
Judges 17:6). So this is just the sort of time God loves best,
when he can demonstrate once more that he came in Christ to call
not the righteous, but those who have lost their moorings.
that is not our instinct at such times. When morals go awry, when
people behave badly, our first thought is to hammer them with law:
"Stop doing that. Start doing this." In the home and in
church, that is certainly my instinct. And I'm often tempted to
bring God in as an ally: "The Bible teaches … so you
Thus I perfectly understand the
drive of those Christians who call this morally unmoored culture
to return to "biblical values." But too often, the call
to return to biblical values is tethered to an attempt to
manipulate people into correct behavior. Note the recent kerfuffle
raised by the Florida Family Association—whose goal is to
"defend, protect, and promote traditional biblical
values"—when they pressured Lowe's to pull ads from the
TV show All American Muslim.... Read this in full at
ERWIN LUTZER NAMED BIBLE TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Bott Radio Network named Dr. Erwin Lutzer the Bott Radio
Network Bible Teacher of the Year for 2011. The award was
presented at the annual Bott Radio Network Christmas Luncheon in
the grand ballroom of the Overland Park Marriott Hotel in Overland
Park, Kansas, Dec. 15.
Dr. Lutzer is the Senior Pastor of
the Moody Church in Chicago and host of the Running to Win radio
program heard daily on Bott Radio Network. In addition to
pastoring the Moody Church since 1980, Dr. Lutzer has authored
more than 20 books and is a highly sought after international
In presenting the award, Rich Bott,
President and CEO of Bott Radio Network, noted that, "We are
delighted to present this well-deserved award to Dr. Erwin Lutzer
from 'Running to Win.' Bott Radio Network is blessed with
wonderful ministry partners who share our vision to get the Word
of God into the people of God in this generation. It is our
privilege to broadcast 'Running to Win' with Dr. Erwin Lutzer
daily on BRN." .... Read this in full at
TRANSLATORS GIVING HIGH PRIORITY TO NEWLY INDEPENDENT SOUTH SUDAN
Bible translation organization Wycliffe Associates is working
to assist Bible translators in newly independent South Sudan with
logistical, financial and personnel support, according to Donn
Hallman of Wycliffe. South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in
July, which has opened new doors for religious freedom. "There
are more people without the Bible in the Sudan region than in any
other area of Africa," said Bruce Smith, president and CEO of
Wycliffe. Twenty-nine languages in South Sudan have no Scripture
-- approximately 20 percent of the population -- and six projects
are currently underway. "Our partners on the ground say that
without our immediate action, no new translation projects can
begin," Smith said. He added that translation needs in all of
Sudan are great, with 21 million Sudanese waiting for the Bible in
a language they can understand; Wycliffe is making
translation in this region one of its top priorities for the
coming years.... Read this in full at
BECOMES 2011 BESTSELLER IN NORWAY
The UK's 2011 bestseller lists might have been dominated by
cookery, courtesy of Jamie Oliver, and romance, courtesy of David
Nicholls, but Norwegian readers were plumping for another sort of
book last year: the Bible.
The first Norwegian translation
of the Bible for 30 years topped the country's book charts almost
every week between its publication in October and the end of the
year, selling almost 80,000 copies so far and hugely exceeding
expectations. Its launch in the autumn saw Harry Potter-style
overnight queues, with bookshops selling out on the first day as
Norwegians rushed to get their hands on the new edition.
only printed 25,000 to start with and thought it would last six to
nine months, but it was launched mid-October and by the end of the
year it had sold 79,000 copies – it's just incredible,"
said Stine Smemo Strachan, who worked on the project for the
Norwegian Bible Society. "It has only been knocked off the
number one spot once, by [literary author] Karl Ove Knausgård
… There were people sleeping outside the day before the
launch because it was embargoed – it's a bit ironic seeing
that the content has been available for quite some time now."
.... Read this in full at
ALTERNATIVE TO STRESS
has been my natural posture, my default stiffness. The way I curl
my toes up, tight retreat. How I angle my jaw, braced, chisel the
brow with the lines of distrust. How I don't fold my hands in
prayer ... weld them into tight fists of control. Always control —
pseudopower from the pit. How I refuse to relinquish worry, babe a
mother won't forsake, an identity. Do I hold worry close as this
ruse of control, this pretense that I'm the one who will determine
the course of events as I stir and churn and ruminate? Worry is
the facade of taking action when prayer really is. And stressed,
this pitched word that punctuates every conversation, is it really
my attempt to prove how indispensable I am? Or is it more? Maybe
disguising my deep fears as stress seems braver somehow.
is like this piano wire cutting round the wrists, life shackled,
cutting deep, and the hands spasm, fists of control. Fear keeps a
life small. The music dies and the joy drains. I've lived the
“What if I opened the clenched hands wide
to receive all that is? A life that receives all of God in this
moment? How do you do that when the terror tears up your throat.
“I stand in the laundry room looking out at the
barn, knowing that stress stands in direct opposition to what He
directly, tenderly commands: ‘Do not let your hearts be
troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me’ [John 14:1]. I
know an untroubled heart relaxes, trusts, leans assured into His
ever-dependable arms. Trust, it's the antithesis of stress. ‘Oh,
the joys of those who trust the Lord’ (Psalm 40:4). But how
to learn trust like that? Can trust be conjured up simply by sheer
will, on command? I've got to get this thing, what it means to
trust, to gut-believe in the good touch of God toward me, because
it's true: I can't fill with joy until I learn how to trust: ‘May
the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in
him, so that you may overflow’ (Romans 15:13 NIV). The full
life, the one spilling joy and peace, happens only as I come to
trust the caress of the Lover, Lover who never burdens His
children with shame or self-condemnation but keeps stroking the
fears with gentle grace.”
Ann Voskamp in One Thousand
Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
SHOT' WINNER AIMS FOR HIGHER GOALS
A "nobody from Nowhere, Texas" is what the History
Channel's "Top Shot" winner for season three, Dustin
Ellermann, called himself in an interview given to the National
Rifle Association. Although he had watched the show and was a big
fan, the thought of actually being a contestant hadn't occurred to
this Christian kids' camp director.
are chosen out of thousands to "shoot it out" for the
title of "Top Shot." Each season's top honor is given to
a marksman -- or markswoman -- who can meet physically demanding,
almost impossible, challenges with accuracy and endurance.
prize: $100,000 and the title of "Top Shot."
contestants included a national revolver champion, two Homeland
Security agents, a former Navy SEAL, two cops, a nurse and several
firearms instructors. Two of the competitors were self-taught,
including Ellermann.... Read this in full at
YEARS RESOLUTIONS YOU CAN KEEP
you sick of making the same resolutions year after year that you
never keep? Why not promise to do something you can ACTUALLY
accomplish? Here are some resolutions that you can use as a
~ Gain weight. At least 30 pounds.
Stop exercising. Waste of time.
~ Read less. Makes you think.
~ Watch more TV. I've been missing some good stuff.
Procrastinate more. Starting tomorrow.
~ Spend more time at
work, surfing the web.
~ Take a vacation to someplace
important, like to see the world's largest ball of twine.
Don't jump off a cliff just because everyone else did.
bringing lunch from home--eat out more.
~ Don't have eight
children at once.
~ Get in a whole NEW rut!
~ Start being
~ Personal goal: Don't bring back disco.
Speak in a monotone voice and only use monosyllabic words.
Only wear jeans that are 2 sizes too small and use a chain or rope
for a belt.
~ Spend my summer vacation in cyberspace.
Create loose ends.
~ Get more toys.
~ Get further in debt.
~ Don't believe politicians.
~ Break at least one traffic
~ Don't drive a motorized vehicle across thin ice.
Don't swim with piranhas or sharks.
~ Spread out priorities
beyond the ability to keep track of them.
~ Wait for
opportunity to knock.
~ Focus on the faults of others.
Mope about faults.
~ Never make New Year's resolutions again.
“If you want your children to improve, let them overhear
the nice things you say about them to others.”
“You must be
holy in every aspect of your lives, just as the one who called you
is holy. It is written, You will be holy, because I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:15-16 (CEB)
WEEK'S HYMN: STANDING AT THE PORTAL
Words: Frances R. Havergal, January 4, 1873
J. Haydn, 1775
Standing at the portal
Of the opening
Words of comfort meet us,
Hushing every fear;
Spoken thru the silence
By our Savior’s voice,
Tender, strong and faithful,
Making us rejoice.
Onward, then, and fear not,
Children of the day;
His Word shall never,
Never pass away.
Lord, am with thee,
Be thou not afraid;
I will help and
Be thou not dismayed.
Yea, I will uphold thee
With My own right hand;
Thou art called and chosen
My sight to stand.”
For the year before
O what rich supplies!
For the poor and needy
streams shall rise;
For the sad and sinful
Shall His grace
For the faint and feeble
Perfect strength be
He will never fail us,
He will not
For His eternal covenant
He will never break.
Resting on the promise,
What have we to fear?
For the coming year.
“If we do
not pray, we fail to realize that we are in the presence of God.”
Karl Barth (1886-1968), Prayer, Westminster John Knox Press,
2002, p. 15
FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS
the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother
or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.
am agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to
with God and man
in God’s will
in the mail
to be found
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.
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
you looking for something or do you have something to sell? Let me
know and I'll put it in this newsletter.
Music & More!
your domain name here!
YOUR FAVORITE WEBSITES
us what sites you find enjoyable and why.
Wonderland (amazing video!)
speed reading training
links to websites are provided as a service, and do not imply
endorsement by this ministry.
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.)
friend is someone who reaches for your hand, but touches your
Frank Coleman, Editor
for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!
is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations,
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CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to
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result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ.
Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, firstname.lastname@example.org if
you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program.
Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
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