Connecting man to man to God
For week of January 22, 2012
Issue 392

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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“No temptation has seized you that isn’t common for people. But God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 (CEB)

“Pulling weeds and planting seeds. That's the story of life. We are individual lots on which either weeds of selfishness or fruit of the Holy Spirit grows and flourishes.”
Dennis and Barbara Rainey

Almost half of churchgoing Americans say their life has not changed a bit due to their time in the pews, a new survey shows.

Barna Group, an evangelical company based in California, found that 46% reported no change. About a quarter of Americans said their life was greatly affected by church attendance and another quarter said it was somewhat influential.

Two-thirds of respondents said they had felt "a real and personal connection" with God while attending church.

Among weekly church attenders, 44% said they felt God's presence every week and 18% said they had that experience once a month.... Read this in full at

Handing out Gideon Bibles to Grade 5 students has been a long tradition in Prince Edward Island schools, one that has been safeguarded for more than four decades as the role of religion in Canadian classrooms slowly eroded.

This past week, one P.E.I. school board faced the uncomfortable question of whether the service should still be offered at all after a parent complained about the consent form sent home to allow his daughter to opt out of the service.

“I’ll be held responsible for my child’s belief system, not the schools,” Michael Arsenault told the local CBC.... Read this in full at

See this interview with Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, as he talks about the traveling exhibit of rare Bibles

Also see the collections website at

by David Briggs
Men would rather watch Monday Night Football than go shopping. Eating too many Hardee’s Monster Thickburgers is linked to obesity. Texting while driving is a bad idea.

There are times when research findings are so obvious they are almost beyond questioning. So it is puzzling that growing evidence showing the importance of congregations cultivating the spiritual lives of the faithful is so routinely ignored.

Puzzling, and damaging to the health of many of the nation’s churches, especially those most in need of revival.

Even though research shows that spiritually alive churches are the most likely to grow, the percentage of US congregations reporting high spiritual vitality declined from 43 percent in 2005 to 28 percent in 2010, according to the latest Faith Communities Today survey.... Read this in full at,0

by Timothy Larsen
Ecclesiastes 10:9 says, “Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them” (NIV). I have always thought of this as the law of occupational hazards. It is good for all of us to reflect on what might be the unfortunate outcomes to which our vocations and positions are particularly prone.

Self-importance is an occupational hazard of the academic life. We academics tend to be vain, self-absorbed people. Our work is structured so as to make us the center of attention. We are rewarded for hearing ourselves talk, getting our names in print and convincing others that we are special—wiser, more knowledgeable, more authoritative as experts. But one gets diminishing returns for the same amount of praise, and we end up having to seek ever-bigger doses. You know how certain kinds of people might overly slather butter on their toast? That’s how we academics like our flattery.

Believe me, I know whereof I speak.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer has been one of my heroes for my entire adult life. It’s possible that no book besides the Bible has ever made a greater impact on me than Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison. It drew me on to reading his other works, as well as biographies of him and studies of his ideas.... Read this in full at

by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
What are we to do with Captain Francesco Schettino, captain of the cruise ship Costa Concordia that sank off the Tuscan coast? He will go down in history as an example of miserable failure, dereliction of duty, radical cowardice, and the collapse of manhood. He failed to do what any man in his position would be expected to do. He even refused a direct command to take up his duty, once he had abandoned it.

We are left with the tragic picture of a frightened man who abandoned his post when he was most needed, and consigned over 4,200 human beings in his care to the dark water.

It is a portrait of moral collapse and the forfeiture of manhood.

Thankfully, this was not the only picture to be seen. Manrico Giampedroni, a 57-year-old crew member aboard the Costa Concordia devoted himself fearlessly to the rescue of passengers, returning to the listing ship again and again to find them and return them to safety. He stopped only when he badly fractured his leg and had to be rescued himself. Francis Servel, who attempted to flee the boat with his wife, Nicole, discovered that there was only one life jacket. He put it on his wife, and that was her last sight of him. “I owe my life to my husband,” she said.... Read this in full at

“It is very important that children learn from their fathers and mothers how to love one another - not in the school, not from the teacher, but from you. It is very important that you share with your children the joy of that smile. There will be misunderstandings; every family has its cross, its suffering. Always be the first to forgive with a smile. Be cheerful, be happy.”
Mother Teresa

by Clare De Graaf
Have you ever thought of the kingdom of God as the family business?

In my previous worldview as a religious Christian, prior to my own spiritual re-birth some 30 years ago now, I had a Sunday school understanding of the gospel and the kingdom. Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection was all about me – getting me and others out from underneath this problem with sin, which we had with God. Once that was done, I had my promise of heaven when I die, and living with God in his kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven.

But, here’s where I missed it! .... Read this in full at

“The holiness of God, the wrath of God, and the health of the creation are inseparably united. Not only is it right for God to display anger at sin, but I find it impossible to understand how He could do otherwise. God's wrath is His utter intolerance of whatever degrades or destroys.”
A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Man: The Dwelling Place of God, Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, Inc., 1966, p. 111

“God must love the game of chicken because He plays it with us all the time. He has this habit of waiting until the very last moment to answer our prayer to see if we will chicken out or pray through. If we chicken out, we miss out on the miracle; if we pray through, God will come through, but it may well be at the last moment possible. And, of course, if you chicken out of the game of chicken, God will always give you another chance to get back in the game.

“This pattern of last-second provision is repeated throughout Scripture, and I think it reveals God's playful personality. Sometimes we are so focused on the character of God that we forget that God has a personality too. He loves hiding around corners and surprising us. You can't convince me that Jesus didn't have fun sneaking up on the disciples in the middle of the night in the middle of the lake by walking on water. You can't convince me that God didn't enjoy the befuddled look on Moses' face when he heard the talking bush. As I read Scripture, I can come to no other conclusion than this: God loves showing up in unexpected ways at unexpected times.

“I love this part of God's personality. While it sometimes adds stress, it also adds drama. In big and small ways, it is prayer that adds the unexpected twists and turns in our personal plotlines that make life worth living. It is prayer that precipitates and culminates in the climactic moments when God shows up in dramatic fashion. It is prayer that can turn any story, your story, into an epic drama.

“I have scribbled the initials JEJIT in the margins of my Bible at various places where God provides just enough just in time... He did it when the Israelites are trapped between the Egyptian army and Red Sea. He did it when the boat is about to capsize on the Sea of Galilee because of hurricane-force winds. And He did it with us when we had twenty-four hours to come up with $7,500.

“Maybe you're in a desperate situation right now. It feels like ... the Egyptian army is closing in on you, or your boat is about to capsize. It may seem like God is nowhere to be seen, but maybe God is setting the stage for a miracle. This I know for sure: God is always stage right. He's ready to make His grand entrance. All He is waiting for is your prayer cue.”
Mark Batterson in The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears

A recent study by the Barna Group found that almost 60% of Christian young people ages 15 to 29 have distanced themselves from active involvement in church.

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, says a few reasons behind the mass exodus include young people finding churches "shallow," feeling that God is missing from services, and feeling that church is not a safe place to express doubts. He added that in many cases, churches have failed to equip young people to live "in but not of" the world.

"[Young people] tell us that ... Christianity has become so hip, so watered-down, so about entertainment -- and they're looking for something of more substance," Kinnaman said. However, Kinnaman said this has led some young people to begin attending more traditional, conservative churches. "They want to feel that their faith matters, that they're learning the truth of Scripture," he said.... Read this in full and see a video interview at

by Kerby Anderson
The seventh commandment says "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Nevertheless, this sin has been committed throughout history. Today, though, adultery seems more rampant than ever. While tabloid stories report the affairs of politicians, millionaires, and movie stars, films like "The English Patient," "The Prince of Tides," or "The Bridges of Madison Country" feature and even promote adultery.

How prevalent is adultery? Two of the most reliable studies come to similar conclusions. The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior estimates that "More than one-third of men and one-quarter of women admit having had at least one extramarital sexual experience." A survey by the National Opinion Research Center (University of Chicago) found lower percentages: 25 percent of men had been unfaithful and 17 percent of women. Even when these lower ratios are applied to the current adult population, that means that some 19 million husbands and 12 million wives have had an affair.

Whatever the actual numbers, the point to be made is that adultery is much more common than we would like to admit. Family therapist and psychiatrist Frank Pittman believes "There may be as many acts of infidelity in our society as there are traffic accidents." He further argues that the fact that adultery has become commonplace has altered society's perception of it. He says, "We won't go back to the times when adulterers were put in the stocks and publicly humiliated, or become one of those societies and there are many in which adultery is punishable by death. Society in any case is unable to enforce a rule that the majority of people break, and infidelity is so common it is no longer deviant." .... Read this in full at

“The opposite of a slave is not a free man. It's a worshiper. The one who is most free is the one who turns the work of his hands into sacrament, into offering. All he makes and all he does are gifts from God, through God, and to God.”
Mark Buchanan

See this report about Sherwood Baptist Church and its making of the movie Courageous at

by Christopher Shea
Deeply religious people may be more likely than their secular peers to forgo a small reward now for a larger one later, a new study finds — a trait that helps to foster social cooperation (not to mention economic progress).

Researchers offered nearly 300 undergraduates a series of options involving trade-offs — $50 now or $100 in six months, for example — and asked them a series of questions measuring how often they thought about the future. (To increase the motivation, the students had a chance to actually receive the prize they selected in one of their scenarios.) Additionally, participants answered a series of questions probing the depth of their religiosity. Just under half of the participants were Christian, while 17% reported no religious affiliation and another 17% had no preferred denomination).... Read this in full at

“We need to arrange a servanthood conference, with workshops in love, forgiveness, feet-washing, cross bearing- in short, workshops in Christlikeness. God is not waiting for people to get big enough to use, but to get small enough in their own eyes for Him to entrust with His mission and Spirit. Christ cannot be represented by swaggering leaders who ‘lord it over’ the flock of God. He cannot be represented by puffed-up laymen who nominate themselves as church bosses. He can be honestly manifested only in the lives of those who feel, as did Paul, that they are ‘less than the least of all the saints.’”
W. E. McCumber

by Mark Edmundson
Do sports build character? For those of us who claim to be educators, it's important to know. Physical-education teachers, coaches, boosters, most trustees, and the balance of alumni seem sure that they do. And so they push sports, sports, and more sports. As for professors, they often see sports as a diversion from the real business of education—empty, time-wasting, and claiming far too much of students' attention. It often seems that neither the boosters nor the bashers want to go too far in examining their assumptions about sports.

But in fact, sports are a complex issue, and it's clear that we as a culture don't really know how to think about them. Public confusion about performance-enhancing drugs, the dangers of concussions in football and of fighting in hockey, and the recent molestation scandal at Penn State suggest that it might be good to pull back and consider the question of athletics and education—of sports and character-building—a bit more closely than we generally do.... Read this in full at

“Therefore, you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you; this is the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 7:12 (CEB)

“Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.”
Peter Ustinov

National Marriage Week USA (February 7 to 14) is growing fast in just its third year, posting thousands of marriage classes across the nation and building collaborative efforts for one-week-a-year to strengthen marriages, reduce divorce, and increase the marriage rate, which curtails poverty, benefits children, and builds financial stability for our nation and for individuals.

"Rebuilding our economy is tied to rebuilding marriages," said Sheila Weber, executive director of National Marriage Week USA ( "Taxpayers spend at least $112 billion a year for divorce and unwed childbearing. Marriage brings vastly more financial stability to individuals," she continued.... Read this in full at

by Mark Ellis
Like other boys in his Pashtun tribe along the Pakistan-Afghan border, he was sent to a madrasa at age four, where he was compelled to read, recite and memorize the Koran.

"The children mimic or copy the mullah, who is very heavy-handed. You have to memorize out of fear," says John Taimoor, founder of The Crossbearers, a ministry devoted to presenting biblical Christianity within an Islamic context

By age 14 he was reading Shakespeare and searching for heroes, when he stumbled across the name 'Isa,' the Arabic name for Jesus in the Koran. "I read the name of Jesus and became curious," he says. "The Lord reached me right in the mosque."

When he asked the priest about Jesus, he was told that Moses and Jesus were brothers. When he asked how to find out more, they told him to find 'The Book of Isa.' "Nobody had ever heard of a Bible." .... Read this in full at

During January 14th’s NFL playoff game between Tim Tebow's Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, pro-family organization Focus on the Family ran an ad (see it at in which children recited John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." According to preliminary numbers, the game was "the highest-rated AFC divisional playoff in 18 years," with a total of more than 29 million viewers. The ad came just a week after Tebow passed for 316 yards in a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, causing John 3:16 to be the most searched item on Google and leading to a number of Internet salvations. "There has been a lot of buzz lately about what John 3:16 says, and we wanted to help people understand it without having to run to their computer to look it up," said Focus on the Family's Jim Daly. "We hope this helps everyone understand some numbers are more important than the ones on the scoreboard." .... Read this in full at

When Faith Perceptions was founded in 2008 offering a mystery guest program (similar to mystery shopping in a business context), they knew they were onto something. It turns out they were onto something big. Faith Perceptions experienced a 300% increase in growth in 2011 from 2010. They also expanded from one state to eight states, and they now serve four Christian denominations. This makes it the fastest growing firm of its type in the country.

Here is how it works: Faith Perceptions ( partners with church leaders to evaluate the guest experience. Church leaders typically do not disclose their participation in the program to the congregation so everyone will conduct "church as usual." Faith Perceptions finds people in the church's local area and hires qualified "unchurched" mystery guests to attend the church services -- a different person at each service. The mystery guest then completes an online survey rating the church both numerically and with written commentary. Faith Perceptions compiles the data and provides reports to the church leaders quarterly with qualitative and quantitative feedback. Church leaders use this information to make their environment more welcoming and hospitable to first time visitors.... Read this in full at

Presbyterians opposed to gay clergy split from the church Jan. 19, announcing in Orlando a new denomination called the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians.

More than 2,000 Presbyterians from 500 churches witnessed the launch of the new group, which was formed in reaction to a decision in July by the 2.3 million member Presbyterian Church (USA) to permit gay clergy, said John Crosby, president of the order.

"The problem is people are going to hell," John Ortberg, a leader of the splinter group and minister at the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California, said in a sermon to begin Thursday's events.... Read this in full at

by Donald DeMarco
There are three debilitating effects of Original Sin: a darkening of the intellect, a weakening of the will, and a diminished unity of body and soul. Galatians 5:16-17 speaks to the third effect of Original Sin: “But I say: Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the laws of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, so that you do not do what you would.”

...The flesh is, in the Christian view, good – created by the same God who created the spirit (or soul). Things go wrong when the “flesh lusts against the Spirit.” .... Read this in full at

“I recently watched Whale Wars with my wife and daughter. In this program a rag-tag group of conservationists band together with a couple of old ships to sail into the Antarctic during whaling season and do everything they possibly can to disrupt [whale hunters] from killing whales. The lengths in which they will go to confront what they see as an unforgiveable injustice are what create the drama for the program. It's easy to look at these people trying to save dolphins and whales as whacko environmentalists, but it's difficult to dismiss their passion for and commitment to what they think is right.

“I found myself staring at the ceiling as I lay in bed one evening and couldn't get these people out of my mind. They were truly willing to put their lives in jeopardy. They left nice homes and steady jobs and gave up most comforts to live very lean and simply. They basically lived semi-monastic lives without the prayer. They lived more Christlike in actual practice than [many Christians]. They were passionate enough about what they believed in to look absolutely foolish and wear whatever label society chose to give them in order to achieve what they believed to be a just cause.

“This is the kind of commitment the Bible invites us into and a glimpse of what it means to be a committed disciple of Christ. It would look pretty much as it did when the twelve ragamuffin disciples were following their controversial and countercultural rabbi around Judea.

“If we are living truly free, awake, and alert to the truth, we will in fact be free, but we will also probably look increasingly strange and peculiar to those around us (see 1 Peter 2:9; Titus 2:14 KJV). Saying this is my way of offering full disclosure. You won't be the same after the Bible. You won't care about some of the things you care a lot about now. Some of the things that seem huge in life at the moment are going to simply not matter this time next year.”
Brian Hardin in Passages: How Reading the Bible in a Year Will Change Everything for You

Iowa State University canceled a business management course that some faculty say would have advocated an evangelical Christian point of view and used a textbook that advised its readers against doing business with nonbelievers.

The course, Application of Biblical Insight into the Management of Business/Organization, was to be taught by Roger Stover, a finance professor. It was structured as an independent study, which undergoes far less scrutiny than regular courses approved by the university. It was advertised on the ISU College of Business' website last fall, but was removed in December after some ISU faculty members objected.... Read this in full at

TEACHER: Why are you late?
WEBSTER: Because of the sign.
TEACHER: What sign?
WEBSTER: The one that says, "School Ahead - Go Slow."

TEACHER: Where would we be today if no one had ever been curious?"
JOHN: In the garden of Eden?

TEACHER: Cindy, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
CINDY: You told me to do it without using tables!

TEACHER: John, how do you spell "crocodile?"
TEACHER: No, that's wrong
JOHN: Maybe it s wrong, but you asked me how I spell it!

TEACHER: What is the chemical formula for water?
TEACHER: What are you talking about?
SARAH: Yesterday you said it's H to O!

TEACHER: George, go to the map and find North America.
GEORGE: Here it is!
TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America?
CLASS: George!

TEACHER: Willie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.

There’s a growing wave of de-baptisms in Europe, one of the most visible manifestations of the continent's secular drift. Websites offering informal de-baptism certificates have mushroomed. Other Christians are formally breaking from the church by opting out of state church taxes.

"The movement is happening across Europe," said Anne Morelli, who heads a center studying religion and secularity at the Free University of Brussels. "It was very apparent during 2011 -- in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Austria. It is obviously related to the scandals of pedophile priests, but it has been going on for some time."

While there are no official statistics, experts and secular activists count the numbers of de-baptisms in the tens of thousands. It's a phenomenon that has touched Protestant as well as Catholic communities.... Read this in full at

Christians have the lowest growth rate among the Israeli population, according to a recent report from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.
According to the Jan. 6 report, the Christian growth rate of 0.9% lags behind the Jewish rate of 1.7% and the 2.7% growth rate among Muslims. Christian Arabs have a growth rate of 1%, while the rate among non-Arab Christians is 0.7%.
About 154,000 Christians live in Israel, representing about 2% of the population, according to the bureau.... Read this in full at

Christians now have a powerful new technology which they can use to share video messages of faith and spread the gospel to a whole new audience for the first time in history: Youtoo (, the first social TV network. Youtoo invites Christians to send their video messages of faith directly into the living rooms of 15 million American households on TV. The Youtoo Peoplemercial(tm) which just launched this January, allows Christians to record and upload a 30-second video that is aired just like a real 30-second television commercial on national cable TV. All Peoplemercials(tm) will be free through January 31, so Christians are encouraged to act now to share their faith for free with their fellow Americans. Christians have an opportunity to take back the TV by putting themselves and their testimony on air.

Dr. Lawrence Terlizzese with Probe Ministries believes that the Youtoo Peoplemercial(tm) is an ideal tool for Christians to take control of the technology that is so pervasive in our modern world and make positive use of it. He urges Christians to make their voices heard and to share their statements of faith to evangelize and spread the gospel.... Read this in full at

Also see “15 Million Cable Households in US to Hear Gospel From Everyday Christians”

“Yet to live always as though time were a bridge is precisely what the saints do. Their eyes are forever on the eternal, that Beyond which is also here and now and within, because they have cultivated the art of seeing Eternity through that narrow slit- the ever now moment.”

“Do everything without grumbling and arguing so that you may be blameless and pure, innocent children of God surrounded by people who are crooked and corrupt. Among these people you shine like stars in the world because you hold on to the word of life. This will allow me to say on the day of Christ that I haven’t run for nothing or worked for nothing.”
Philippians 2:14-16 (CEB)

Words: Cyriacus Schneegass, 1597; translated from German to English by August Crull, 1880
Music: Martin Luther, 1524

Lord, our Father, thanks to Thee
In this new year we render,
For every evil had to flee
Before Thee, our Defender.
Our life was nourished, we were fed
With rich supplies of daily bread,
And peace reigned in our borders.

Lord Jesus Christ, our thanks to Thee
In this new year we render;
Thy reign hath kept Thy people free,
Hath shown Thy mercies tender.
Thou hast redeemed us with Thy blood,
Thou art our Joy, our only Good,
In life and death our Savior.

Lord Holy Ghost, our thanks to Thee
In this new year we render,
For Thou hast led our eyes to see
Thy truth in all its splendor
And thus enkindled from above
Within our hearts true faith and love
And other Christian virtues.

Our faithful God, we cry to Thee:
Still bless us with Thy favor,
Blot out all our iniquity,
And hide our sins forever.
Grant us a happy, good new year
And, when the hour of death draws near,
A peaceful, blest departure.

>from NetHymnal at

“It is very proper for friends, when they part, to part with prayer.”
Matthew Henry


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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I'm starting to really struggle with my New Year's resolution. I ran around the block six times this morning as I had resolved, but I was in so much pain I could barely pick the block up off the floor to put it back in the toy box! 
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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