to man to God|
For week of April 29, 2012
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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“Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus: Though he was in the form of God, he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit. But he emptied himself by taking the form of a slave and by becoming like human beings. When he found himself in the form of a human, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
- Philippians 2:5-8 (CEB)
“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is 'finding his place in it' while really it is finding its place in him.”
- C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Screwtape Letters, Macmillan, 1944, p. 143
CHUCK COLSON DIES AT 80
Evangelical Christianity lost one of its most eloquent and influential voices today with the death of Charles W. “Chuck” Colson. The Prison Fellowship and Colson Center for Christian Worldview founder died at 3:12 p.m. on Saturday from complications resulting from a brain hemorrhage. Colson was 80.
A Watergate figure who emerged from the country’s worst political scandal, a vocal Christian leader and a champion for prison ministry, Colson spent the last years of his life in the dual role of leading Prison Fellowship, the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families, and the Colson Center, a teaching and training center focused on Christian worldview thought and application.... Read this in full at
See a remembrance video
Read Christianity Today’s obituary
Read The New York Times’ article
CHUCK COLSON'S BETTER WAY OF LIFE
by Brittany Smith
"Chuck Colson's life demonstrated the power of God and of Truth to change hearts and transform lives. He was a man of courage who called Christians to take a stand for religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family," said Alliance Defense Fund CEO and longtime friend of Colson's, Alan Sears.
During Colson's time in the hospital, Executive Director of Summit Ministries, John Stonestreet took over hosting duties for the radio program. Last Friday, Stonestreet spoke about the life and impact of Colson, not only on him, but on evangelical leaders around the country.
Stonestreet said that "quantifying his [Colson's] impact would be impossible. I meet those who have been impacted by him all the time -- they read his books, or they listen to BreakPoint, or maybe their children were loved by Angel Tree volunteers while they were incarcerated, or they found Jesus Christ after hearing his story of redemption."
He also noted that "Chuck was doing social justice before it was cool. He went from prisoner, to prison minister, to prison reformer." .... Read this in full at
“I’ll tell you one of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that I don’t ever get up in the morning and wonder I’m not doing anything today or if what I do matters. I live everyday to the fullest because I can live it through Christ and I know no matter what I do today, and it may just be in my prayer time, I’m going to do something to advance the Kingdom of God. Now does that make you fulfilled? You bet it does! And it gives you joy about living.”
- Chuck Colson
CHARLES COLSON: BEYOND WATERGATE
by James D. Davis
Chuck Colson often went back to prison, as it were, to minister directly to the incarcerated. I covered one such service on Easter 2007 at the Pompano Transitional Center.
It was a fitting place for a day that celebrates Jesus' resurrection, he told 230 inmates there. "We're celebrating a man who was a prisoner, who died on a cross, then went into a tomb that could not contain him. Where better to celebrate than in the tomb of society?
"If Jesus were preaching today, he would be among the poor and outcast in society," Colson continued. "And that's the man who transformed our lives. There is nothing you've gone through with the Florida Department of Corrections, or in your life, that Jesus Christ didn't go through."
This is the Colson who deserves to be remembered. A man who was changed and who brought about change. A man who found himself in something, and someone, larger than himself. A man who left prison, but continued to touch people in fellowship.... Read this in full at
CHUCK COLSON FELL IN LOVE WITH THE LORD
by Peter Wehner
In my encounters with him over the years, I found Chuck Colson to be candid, encouraging, principled, a source of wisdom, a person of enormous integrity, and something of a touchstone. He understood the inherent tensions of being a Christian in politics and seemed to get the balance as close to right as anyone.
But most of all, Mr. Colson struck me as a man who fell in love and stayed in love with the Lord. He touched countless lives during his pilgrimage.... Read this in full at
CHUCK COLSON'S MEMORIAL SCHEDULED FOR MAY 16
Chuck Colson, the late Prison Fellowship founder, will be buried privately at Quantico National Cemetery in Virginia, but the public is invited to attend a memorial service that will be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, on May 16.
The memorial service to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Colson will be held at 10 am, according to the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, one of the two ministries the evangelical leader founded.... Read this in full at
THE VALUE OF HAVING A PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT
by Clare De Graaf
Decades ago I felt like my life was out of control. I was busy in ministry, we were raising five children, trying to keep our marriage fresh and I felt like I was not doing any of them well. Life was a blur.
So, I signed up for a time management course. I thought that was how I would find more balance: just be more efficient. The first words out of the seminar presenter’s mouth were two questions and then a quote.
“How many of you have a written Personal Mission Statement?”
Then, following a long, very uncomfortable silence…
“How many of you have ever taken an entire day in your whole life for the sole purpose of thinking through what you and God want most out of your life?”
The only sound in the room was the hum of the air conditioner. Then the presenter quoted this: “If a man (woman) doesn’t know what harbor he’s headed for, no harbor is the right harbor.” Lucius Seneca, a Roman Senator.... Read this in full at
YOUNG ‘MILLENNIALS’ LOSING FAITH IN RECORD NUMBERS
A growing tide of young Americans is drifting away from the religions of their childhood -- and most of them are ending up in no religion at all.
One in four young adults choose “unaffiliated” when asked about their religion, according to a new report from the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs.
But most within this unaffiliated group – 55% -- identified with a religious group when they were younger.
“These younger unaffiliated adults are very nonreligious,” said Daniel Cox, PRRI’s research director. “They demonstrate much lower levels of religiosity than we see in the general population,” including participation in religious rituals or worship services.
Some of them will return to their faiths as they age, “but there’s not a lot of evidence that most will come back,” added Cox, who said the trend away from organized religion dates back to the early 1990s.... Read this in full at
MEASURING WHAT MATTERS
by Mike Bonem
Measurement has been a troublesome thing for the church for two thousand years." That's how Jim Mellado of the Willow Creek Association responded when I asked about measuring congregational success. "It's incredibly hard to measure transformation in a heart," he continued, "and that's what we're all after."
No matter how you state the ultimate goal of your ministry, it is difficult to measure the things that truly matter.... Read this in full at
CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A RELIGION
“Suppose Christianity is not a religion at all but a way of life, a falling in love with God, and through Him, a falling in love with our fellows. Of course such a way is hard and costly, but it is also joyous and rewarding even in the here-and-now. People who follow that Way know beyond all possible argument that they are in harmony with the Purpose of God, that Christ is with them and in them as they set about His work in our disordered world.
“If anyone thinks this is perilous and revolutionary teaching, so much the better. That is exactly what they thought of the teaching of Jesus Christ. The light He brought to bear upon human affairs is almost unbearably brilliant, but it is the light of Truth, and in that light human problems can be solved.”
- J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), When God was Man, London: Lutterworth Press:, 1954, p. 26
THE SEALED ORDERS
You are leaving port under sealed orders and in a troubled
You cannot know whither you are going or what you are to
But why not take the Pilot on board who knows the nature of
your sealed orders from the outset,
and who will shape your entire voyage accordingly?
He knows the shoals and the sandbanks, the rocks and the
He will steer you safely into that celestial harbor where
your anchor will be cast for eternity.
Let His mighty nail-pierced hands hold the wheel, and you
will be safe.
... Peter Marshall (1902-1949), John Doe, Disciple: sermons for the young in spirit, McGraw-Hill, 1963, p. 37
STUDY: RELIGIOUS HOSTILITY ESCALATES WORLDWIDE
Practicing a religious belief in nearly one-third of the world's countries is increasingly difficult due to government restrictions and public hostilities, according to new data from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
The Pew study found a 32% increase in governmental restrictions and public hostilities from 2006-09 in the 198 countries of the world. Among its finding, the survey showed religious restrictions:
-- increased 12% in 23 countries.
-- decreased 6% in 12 countries.
-- remained unchanged in 163 countries.
"Among the world's 25 most populous countries -- which account for about 75% of the world's population -- restriction on religions substantially increased in eight countries and did not substantially decrease in any," according to the Pew study, which was presented at an International Religious Freedom Roundtable event on Capitol Hill in late March.... Read this in full at
“Faith is not a refuge from reality. It is a demand that we face reality, with all its difficulties, opportunities, and implications. The true subject matter of religion is not our own little souls, but the Eternal God and His whole mysterious purpose, and our solemn responsibility to Him.”
- Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The School of Charity, New York: Longmans, Green, 1934, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1991, p. 105
NASCAR DRIVER LOSES SPONSOR OVER CHRISTIAN FAITH
Following California's Royal Purple 300 race, NASCAR driver Blake Koch sat just 28 points out of the top 10 driver standings, but he was forced to race with a blank car after losing his primary sponsor because of a controversy over his Christian faith.
After ESPN rejected an advertisement from Koch's sponsor — a voter-registration awareness organization called the Rise Up and Register Campaign — because of the ad's so-called "political and religious overtones," the campaign decided to stop sponsoring Koch. While the campaign itself does not promote specific religions, its website linked to Koch's website, which promotes his ministry and religious activism — the 26-year-old driver often speaks at churches on race weekends, at Christian outreach events, and on TV shows.
"I didn't think that my faith in Christ would have an impact on whether or not a sponsor could air a commercial or not," Koch said March 29. "The one thing I will not do is deny my faith just because a particular sponsor might not like the way I express my faith, which I do on my own time."
Going into the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at the Texas Motor Speedway without a primary sponsor, Koch would have been forced to park his car, but ChristianCinema.com stepped up to sponsor him after hearing about his dilemma. Koch still needs a primary sponsor for the rest of the season, however, and ChristianCinema.com has started a Twitter campaign to raise awareness. But for now, "We're excited to support Blake and stand for his faith," said Bobby Downes, ChristianCinema.com CEO.... Read this in full at
WHERE ARE THE DADS? TREATING RICHMOND'S FATHERLESS EPIDEMIC
On the fourth floor of the Health District Building in downtown Richmond, Donald Stern's office is beginning to resemble a library with an unusual collection. On his desk, next to new editions of the World Health Report and Control of Communicable Diseases, are Race Matters by philosopher Cornel West, Was Bill Cosby Right? by Michael Eric Dyson, and the Moynihan Report, a controversial 1965 federal document that detailed crumbling relations in the African American family. Nearly 50 years after its publication, Stern says, it has proven "prophetic" in the former seat of the Confederacy.
Stern became Richmond's public health director after his boss urgently called him there in December 2006. He had spent the previous 25 years in some capacity in Virginia public health, tracking infection rates, administering flu shots, inspecting nursing homes — "I've done about every job a physician could do in Virginia public health," says Stern, an affable, mustached doctor trained in maternal and child health. But all that, he says, "was God's means of preparing me for my most challenging role," centered in Richmond.... Read this in full at
WHAT IS “SEXUAL HOLINESS” ANYWAY?
by Jenell Williams Paris
John Wesley described holiness as love of God and neighbor, which is Jesus’ description of the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:34-40). But when distorted, holiness is used as a synonym for morality, when holiness is really about being more and more in love with God and with humanity.
In the area of sexuality, specifically, morality too easily becomes an idol, whether it’s premarital virginity, marital chastity or heterosexuality. People follow hard after it, measure their worth by it and are sometimes devastated when they offend it. Moreover, Christians teach others to measure their worth by morality rather than by their belovedness. When sexual morality is elevated to an idolatrous place, it diminishes people’s sense of being loved and being able to love, instead of being put in its place by love.
So, what does a rich view of sexual holiness entail? .... Read this in full at
THOMAS ROAD BAPTIST CHURCH TO HOST MAJOR FAITH-BASED FILM
Thomas Road Baptist Church will serve as the host church for the new film "Finding Faith." This new faith-based film centers on the work of Bedford, VA Sheriff Mike Brown and US Department of Justice task forces around the country in their work to protect children from Internet predators.
The faith-based film will star the national spokesman for the Safe Surfin' Foundation, Erik Estrada. Estrada is best known for his leading role in the television series, "CHiP's." The filming will take place at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Liberty Christian Academy, Liberty University and locations around central Virginia. The casting is underway and will include local talent. "As a former federal agent, I thought I had seen every conceivable evil that one person could do to another," stated Mike Brown. "However, the world of child porn is the most horrific crime you can imagine. It causes great harm to children and their families. It is horrible. I am hopeful that this film will help educate children and save young lives from this threat."
TAPPING THE BRAKES ON THE "FAMILY BASED MINISTRY" MOVEMENT
by David Grant
I believe in family.
There's no doubt churches including children's ministries and student ministries should invest in equipping and shepherding parents. In fact, at my home church, Irving Bible, we just started "Parenting at IBC" with the hope we can serve and equip parents of all aged kids. It's important to me.
The question I would like to ask is this, should the nuclear family be the primary focus of our next generations ministries? If so why?
Yesterday I sat in a family based ministry one day gathering. It was assumed that ministry should be family focused and family centered. It was assumed that all our time, energy and focus should be family based. So many questions came to my mind.
Today I did some Web surfing to see if I could discover how some are defining and describing family based ministry. Here are some statements I read.... Read this in full at
THE VIRTUES OF MANHOOD
by Steve Zollos
It was a warm spring day and I sat working behind my desk. I had been to an event a few days earlier and had won a BB gun that I gave to my son as a present. Along with the gun came clear and detailed instructions on how and when it could be used.
The phone rang and I picked it up to hear my son Stepheno crying on the other end. "Stepheno? What's wrong?" I asked as my heart began pounding. I had never received a call like this before, and I knew something had to be very wrong.
Stepheno started in a halting, almost undecipherable sob, "Dad, I didn't mean to … I didn't think it would shoot that far … I'm sorry … I didn't mean it."
By now the sobs were making complete sentences indiscernible and I began using the scant pieces of information to paint a picture of what had happened in my mind. It had something to do with the BB gun. He shot his brother Phillip, or maybe Emerson with it, but it wasn't too close and it appeared that Mom wasn't home, or she was taking him to the hospital. My mind immediately shifted into panic gear.
"Stepheno," I replied rather sternly, "slow down and stop crying. I can't understand you. Now tell me what happened." .... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“This is why he can completely save those who are approaching God through him, because he always lives to speak with God for them.
- Hebrews 7:25 (CEB)
“Godliness is a life-long business. The working out of the salvation that the Lord, himself, works in you is not a matter of certain hours, or of a limited period of life. Salvation is unfolded throughout our entire sojourn here.”
- Charles Spurgeon
AIR FORCE TO REMOVE REQUIREMENT FOR HOTEL BIBLES
The Air Force will no longer require Air Force Inns — temporary lodging facilities found at most major Air Force bases — to have Bibles in their rooms, WORLD News Service reports.
According to a statement released by the National Prayer Caucus, "After receiving a complaint by the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, the Air Force will remove 'Is a Bible provided?' from the checklist that staff at Air Force Inns use when ensuring that rooms comply with lodging standards."
An Air Force official said, "After a legal review, the Air Force Services Agency determined that there was no legal reason to have the question on the lodging checklist." Bibles are placed in Air Force Inn rooms by the Gideons, at no cost to the government.
MOST AMERICANS SAY MEDIA COVERAGE OF RELIGION TOO SENSATIONALIZED
Two-thirds of the American public says religion coverage is too sensationalized in the news media — a view held by less than 30% of reporters, according to the results of a new survey (http://annenberg.usc.edu/~/media/PDFs/winston-bliss.ashx).
And less than one-fifth of journalists, or 18.9%, say they are “very knowledgeable” about religion. Most reporters in that minority say they are mainly familiar with their own religious traditions, not the wider array of faiths and practices, the survey showed.
The results come from a first-of-its-kind survey of both reporters and the audiences they serve by the Knight Program in Media and Religion at the University of Southern California and the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.
“News organizations are rightly worried about creating smart business plans and developing cutting-edge technology. But they’re overlooking their most basic resource: knowledgeable reporters,” said Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. “News consumers want more reporting on authentic religious experience and a lot less on polarizing religious politics. But reporters can’t do that if all they know about religion is what they hear in church or — ironically — what they read in the news.” .... Read this in full at
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM – A HUMAN RIGHT FOR ALL IN MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
The purge of centuries-old Christian communities in Middle East countries like Iraq and Iran and the dramatic increase of persecution in African countries like Egypt and Nigeria is putting Christians under unprecedented siege.
Recent headlines tell just part of the story: “Powerful Bomb Kills 38 near Churches in Nigeria,” “Salifists Celebrate Death of Coptic Pope in Egypt” and “Youcef Nadarkhani Spends 35th Birthday Behind Bars.”
Last month the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) included Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan among 16 countries on its “Countries of Particular Concern” list. The report said that “across the global landscape, the pivotal human right of religious freedom was under escalating attack.”
Open Doors USA and Simon Wiesenthal Center will address this unprecedented increase in persecution at Washington, DC press conference May 3.... Read this in full at
MEN NEED GUIDANCE TO FIND FULFILLMENT
"Men want a fulfilling life," says author Ken Bramlett, "but don't know how to have one because they have never been taught."
"Most men want to be good husbands and good fathers, to succeed in the workplace, to have a strong spiritual life, and make an impact on the world around them," Bramlett says. "But it's hard to balance all these pursuits — and feel like you've succeeded in any of them."
Bramlett knows about trying to find balance. For 30 years, he has worked in technical and managerial roles for the petroleum company Royal Dutch Shell — working with the environmentally delicate and technically challenging task of developing oil and gas fields in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. While working full-time with Shell — and raising three children, with his wife, Pat — Bramlett entered seminary part-time at age 36 and graduated six years later, in 1998, with a Master of Divinity.... Read this in full at
DEFENSE: JOHN EDWARDS A SINNER, NOT A CRIMINAL
by Brad Hirschfield
John Edwards is “a man who has committed many sins but no crimes.” That was the recent line from the defense at his trial, and true or not, it’s both a heartening and disturbing claim.
On the upside, the idea that one can commit sins — moral or theological misdeeds — yet still be within the law, is a good thing, especially in a world in which more and more people feel that the line between personal faith and public policy should be erased. In fact, the defense’s claim that Edwards committed sins and not crimes reminds us that in a culture which respects freedom of religion, that distinction must always be maintained.... Read this in full at
What if we understand death as a developmental stage — like adolescence or mid-life? Dr. Ira Byock is a leading figure in palliative care and hospice in the United States. He says we lose sight of "the remarkable value" of the time of life we call dying if we forget that it's always a personal and human event, and not just a medical one. From his place on this medical frontier, he shares how we can understand dying as a time of learning, repair, and completion of our lives.... Read and hear this in full at
BIRTHS TO COHABITATING COUPLES DRAMATICALLY INCREASE
The number of babies born to unmarried couples who are living together in America has increased dramatically during the past decade, according to a new report by the National Center for Health Statistics.
About 23% of the reported births in the study — based on interviews of 22,000 men and women from 2006 to 2010 — were to unmarried heterosexual couples who were cohabitating when the child was born. In 2002, the figure from a similar study was 14%.
"We were a little surprised in such a short time period to see these increases," said Gladys Martinez, lead author of the report. The study did not attempt to explain the increase, but a sociologist from Ohio's Bowling Green State University said the decline in marriages could be attributed to the economy.
Another sociologist, Kelly Raley of the University of Texas-Austin, said, "It just could be that it's OK now to have a kid outside of marriage." Brad Wilcox of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, said children with cohabitating parents were three times more likely to experience their parents' breakup by the age of 5 than children whose parents were married. "They have less stability, security, legal and cultural support," he said.... Read this in full at
“You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
- Augustine of Hippo
VERSE TO PONDER
“God wanted to make the glorious riches of this secret plan known among the Gentiles, which is Christ living in you, the hope of glory. This is what we preach as we warn and teach every person with all wisdom so that we might present each one mature in Christ.”
- Colossians 1:27-28 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: HE IS RISEN
Words: Cecil F. Alexander, 1846
Music: Joachim Neander, 1680
Said the angel, “He is risen!”
Tell it out with joyful voice:
He has burst His three days’ prison;
Let the whole wide earth rejoice:
Death is conquered, we are free,
Christ has won the victory.
Come, ye sad and fearful hearted,
With glad smile and radiant brow!
Death’s long shadows have departed;
All our woes are over now,
Due to passion that He bore—
Sin and pain can vex no more.
Come, with high and holy hymning,
Chant our Lord’s triumphant day;
Not one darksome cloud is dimming
Yonder glorious morning ray,
Breaking over the purple east:
Brighter far our Easter feast.
He is risen, He is risen!
He has opened Heaven’s gate:
We are free from sin’s dark prison,
Risen to a holier state;
And a brighter Easter beam
On our longing eyes shall stream.
>from NetHymnal at
The National Day of Prayer tradition predates the founding of the United States of America, evidenced by the Continental Congress' proclamation in 1775 setting aside a day of prayer. In 1952, Congress established an annual day of prayer and, in 1988, that law was amended, designating the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May. This year it is May 3, 2012.
PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
DAILY BLESSING PACT
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!
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Estates & inheritances
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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Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
Min. Frank Coleman, Editor
Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!
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, firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program.
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