Connecting man to
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For week of July 15, 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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“I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus.”
- Philippians 1:6 (CEB)
“One phrase summarizes the horror of hell: ‘God isn't there.’”
- Max Lucado
BIBLE MUSEUM PLANNED FOR WASHINGTON, DC
A large-scale Bible museum will open in Washington, DC, within four years, say planners who have been touring the world with portions of their collection.
Cary Summers, chief operating officer of The Museum of the Bible, a nonprofit umbrella group for the collection of the billionaire Green family of Oklahoma, said they considered Washington, Dallas and New York but decided the nation's capital was the best location. The final name of the museum and its exact location have not been disclosed but planners hope to confirm a location later this summer.
Research they commissioned found that the general population was more willing to travel to the nation's capital for a Bible-focused museum than the other two cities, Summers said.... Read this in full at
A SPIRITUAL CONTINENTAL DIVIDE
by Clare De Graaf
Even if they say they are Christians, your children or grandchildren, may believe in a different God than you do!
A few years ago, I served on Spiritual Formation Task Force for a local Christian high school and I was given a book by Christian Smith, titled, Soul Searching. Under a major grant from the E.I. Lilly Foundation, Dr. Smith, a Christian sociologist, at the University of North Carolina and his team conducted hundreds of face-to-face and phone interviews to find out what American teens really believed about God.
His findings were startling to me, but the more time I spend with high school students, even in conservative churches, the more convinced I am that his research is right on. And, his findings explain why the faith of our fathers is not the faith of our children. Here’s a summary of what he found.... Read this in full at
HOW THE RESURRECTION INFUSED MY RATIONAL FAITH WITH A PASSIONATE HOPE
by Alister McGrath
My own [Christian] conversion was intellectual. I didn't need a quick spiritual fix. Instead, I encountered a compelling and luminous vision of reality so powerful and attractive that it demanded a response. Christianity made more sense of the world I saw around me and experienced within me than anything else—my earlier atheism included. I discovered the sheer intellectual capaciousness of the Christian faith — its remarkable, God-given ability to offer us a lens through which we can see things, bringing everything into a sharper focus. It's a light that illuminates the shadowlands. That's why I've come to love C.S. Lewis's great one-liner: "I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not just because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
Although my journey of faith started with reason, it did not end there. The novelist Evelyn Waugh once wrote of the "delicious process of exploring" that he experienced upon converting to Christianity in 1930. I know just what he meant. Everything is new and exciting. It's all too much to take in at once. You have to keep coming back, going deeper each time around. That's what I found with the Resurrection.... Read this in full at
CHANGING TIMES DEMAND FRESH IDEAS
by Thomas Froese
Hamilton public school children will no longer receive shiny New Testaments in Grade 5. The Gideons have been told to stop coming. It's too confusing.
Hamilton's school board is the latest in Canada to say "no thanks" to The Gideons International in Canada's long-time practice — dating back to 1936 — of giving New Testaments to interested children.
According to the Hamilton board, public schools don't have the expertise. That's what churches are for. And what about other faith groups? It's getting too complicated. But have a great summer, okay? And see you in September.
I guess they're right. How can anyone explain all those "begats" on the first page of any New Testament?
And true, it's the job of the church, after the family, to train a child in the way he should go.
When I was in public school in Niagara we actually opened and read the New Testament as a class, after "O Canada" and "God Save the Queen." Then we'd say the Lord's Prayer.... Read this in full at
WAR ON RELIGIOUS GESTURES
by Michael Medved
Why should religious leaders, of all people, turn their fire on celebrities who use their popularity for public proclamations of the almighty's power? In an age when media icons flaunt every sort of indulgence and depravity, prominent members of clergy should find more appropriate targets to scold than athletic achievers like football's Tim Tebow, basketball's Jeremy Lin or baseball's Josh Hamilton, who choose to flaunt their devout Christian commitment.
Widespread discomfort toward well-publicized professions of faith highlights a significant rift in outlook — not just between believers and skeptics, but between religious people who want to limit theological affirmations to church or synagogue settings and those who announce their ardent belief at every opportunity.... Read this in full at
“The most critical issue facing Christians is not abortion, pornography, the disintegration of the family, moral absolutes, MTV, drugs, racism, sexuality, or school prayer. The critical issue today is dullness. We have lost our astonishment. The good News is no longer good news, it is okay news. Christianity is no longer life changing, it is life enhancing. Jesus doesn't change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore. He changes them into "nice people".”
- Mike Yaconelli (1942-2003), Dangerous Wonder: the Adventure of Childlike Faith, Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 1998, p. 23
160 CHAPLAINS TO SERVE OLYMPIANS IN LONDON
John Boyers' gig as interfaith chaplaincy coordinator at the 2012 London Summer Olympics might seem overwhelming, if not for his normal digs.
His "office," home of the Manchester United soccer club, is nicknamed the Theatre of Dreams. For 20 years, he's rubbed shoulders with thousands who pay $25 each to tour Old Trafford, one of the world's most visited stadiums. And that's not counting game days, when 76,000 fans show up.
During the Olympics and Paralympics, Boyers will manage the deployment into the athletes' village of 160 chaplains from five major world religions of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Hinduism.... Read this in full at
PLAN NOW FOR THE OLYMPICS
The Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games is on Friday, July 27, 2012.
HOW THE ONE WITH SELF-CONTROL CAN CONQUER ANY WARRIOR
“Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32
Why can’t I lose weight? Why can’t I get in shape? Why can’t I consistently spend time with God? Why can’t I get out of debt? Why can’t I break this bad habit? Maybe it is because of a lack of self-control. Could it be that many, if not most, of our personal problems are caused by a lack of self-control?
Self-control is one of the best friends we can have. It will enable us to become the people we want to be and to perform the activities we want to do. We need to cherish this friend always. It is a real lifesaver.
Yet self-control exacts a high price. Following one of the outstanding performances of famed Polish concert pianist Ignacy Paderewski, a fan said to him, “I’d give my life to play like that.” The brilliant pianist replied, “I did.” On another occasion, Paderewski was asked by a fellow pianist if he could be ready to play a recital on short notice. The famous musician replied, “I am always ready. I have practiced eight hours daily for forty years.” The other pianist said, “I wish I had been born with such determination.” Paderewski replied, “We are all born with it. I just used mine.”
We can’t become concert pianists just by exercising enough self-control, but when it comes to living effectively each day, we have the makings of triumph if we will apply our wills and come under God’s control and pay the price. Self-control has your best interest at heart. People exercising self-control are happier and healthier because they are fulfilling their inner potential. It is one of the best friends anyone could have.
We know from sources outside the Scriptures that Bernice led a shameful life. She lived with her brother in what appears to have been an incestuous relationship. She outlived one husband and abandoned another. Later she was the mistress of Titus, who eventually became Roman emperor. She moved in the highest social circles of her time, yet she rejected or ignored the opportunity to find the peace with God that came so close to her through Paul. We don’t know if Bernice considered what Paul said, only that she did not respond to it.
God may well bring a life-changing opportunity into your life today, or he may simply nudge you toward a more honest, patient or self-controlled lifestyle. In either case, are you listening?
Prayer: Lord, make me aware of your holy nudges.
Source: Once-A-Day Men & Women of the Bible Devotional
“The symbol of the New Testament and the Christian Church is a cross, which stands for a love faithful despite physical agony and rejection by the world. No amount of air-conditioning and pew-cushioning in the suburban church can cover over the hard truth that the Christian life... is a narrow way of suffering; that discipleship is costly: that, for the faithful, there is always a cross to be carried. No one can understand Christianity to its depths who comes to it to enjoy it as a pleasant weekend diversion.”
- W. Waldo Beach (1916-2000), The Christian Life, Richmond, Va.: CLC Press, 1966
HEALTH CARE SHARING MINISTRIES OFFER INSURANCE ALTERNATIVE
Ellery Hunsley doesn't have health insurance. But eight years ago, when his daughter went through treatment for a brain tumor, the assistant pastor at a local church didn't worry about the medical bills.
Hunsley paid every bill out of pocket, largely thanks to the help of strangers -- people who, like himself, participate in an alternative to insurance, a health care sharing ministry.
Unlike most uninsured Americans, Hunsley will not have to buy health insurance or risk paying a fine under the dictates of the Affordable Care Act. He and other members of health care sharing ministries are among the minority to be exempted from the individual mandate that begins in 2014.
No one views health care sharing ministries as a solution to the problem of how to provide care for as many people as possible. But their existence represents a creative approach that has worked for a small minority for more than two decades.... Read this in full at
HANGING WITH HEATHENS
As the Church, unfortunately, we don't do the best job hanging out with those who are not like us (Christians). This was one of the myriad of issues Paul was dealing with in the church at Corinth. Much like them, we can be afraid that our witness, or Christ-likeness, might be ruined if we associate too deeply or too often with unbelievers. But for some unknown reason, many of us have no problem hanging out with a fellow churchgoer when they are living as sinfully as those in the world.... Read this in full at
CONTEMPLATE GOD’S LOVE
“Is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God- to be the son, the spouse, the love, the delight of the King of glory? Christian, believe this, and think about it: you will be eternally embraced in the arms of the love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting- of the love which brought the Son of God's love from heaven to earth, from earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to glory – that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffered, spat upon, crucified, pierced- which fasted, prayed, taught, healed, wept, sweated, bled, died. That love will eternally embrace you.
- Richard Baxter
VERSE TO PONDER
“LORD God, you created heaven and earth by your great power and outstretched arm; nothing is too hard for you!”
- Jeremiah 32:17 (CEB)
“A man's most glorious actions will at last be found to be but glorious sins, if he hath made himself, and not the glory of God, the end of those actions.”
- Thomas Brooks
AMERICANS CONTINUE TO REDUCE GIVING TO CHURCHES
The economy continues to impact Americans' giving to churches and nonprofit organizations, according to a recent Barna Group survey showing that one-third of those surveyed had reduced the amount they gave to churches in the past three months.
"Americans' considerable charitable behavior remains intact, but each year seems to bring new economic burdens to donors," said David Kinnaman, Barna's president. "Church donors stayed more consistent in their giving than did those donating to nonprofits. However, church donors are now showing increasing fatigue. We expect the next six months to be continued cautiousness for donors of all types."
Barna also found that one-third of the roughly 1,000 adults surveyed said they had been affected in a major way by the economic downturn, that 41% of adults had reduced giving to nonprofits in the last three months as a result of the economy, and that 11% had completely dropped all giving to churches in recent months. In the fall of 2008, just 4% had cut giving to churches entirely.... Read this in full at
THY WILL BE DONE
“I ask you neither for health nor for sickness, for life nor for death; but that you may dispose of my health and my sickness, my life and my death, for your glory...You alone know what is expedient for me; you are the sovereign master, do with me according to your will. Give to me, or take away from me, only conform my will to yours. I know but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow you, and bad to offend you. Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad in anything. I know not which is most profitable to me, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden among the secrets of your providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom.”
- Blaise Pascal
OPEN DOORS USA LAUNCHES 30 DAYS OF PRAYER FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS DURING RAMADAN
From July 20 until August 18, Muslims around the world will be observing the Muslim month of Ramadan, a time when most Muslims refrain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset and practice humility and submissiveness to Allah. During the 30 days of Ramadan, Open Doors USA is conducting a prayer campaign for persecuted Christians in Muslim-majority countries as well as praying that Muslims will find the real God.
"During the season of Ramadan let us first lift up in prayer our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in Islamic-dominated nations; strengthening them, empowering them, comforting them and encouraging them," said Open Doors USA president/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller. "Also, pray for Muslims. There are millions of Muslims who have never experienced real peace and joy in knowing a loving God and having Jesus as their Savior."
Ramadan can be a difficult time for marginalized Christians; persecution is often heightened because Christians do not fast or observe the Muslim traditions, and they can be targeted by their government, community and family. "During Ramadan we need to be more careful in carrying out our church activities, especially in conducting seminars, training and other programs," said one Christian in an Islamic country.... Read this in full at
A TALE OF TWO SCIENTISTS: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED 'IN THE BEGINNING'
by Tim Stafford
How two evangelicals — one a young-earth creationist, the other an evolutionary creationist — have lived out their faith and professions.
Both Todd Wood and Darrel Falk grew up with absolute confidence in the Bible, a strong sense of family, and a belief that church was the place to find meaning and community. Both of them had an unusual aptitude for mathematics and an interest in science—though neither one had much idea what science was. They could have followed very similar pathways, and in a sense, they did.
But the controversies over evolution within the Christian community have taken the two scientists on very different journeys in a time when common ground on human origins and the Genesis narrative seems to be shrinking.... Read this in full at
8 RELIGIOUS WONDERS TO SEE IN THE USA
People visit Jerusalem for the rich history, interwoven religious narratives and crumbling holy walls. They visit Europe for ornate churches with painted ceilings and golden trim. They visit India for peace of mind, finding serenity in its carved and colorful temples scattered along the sacred Ganges River.
But people rarely travel the US in search of such sanctuaries. After all, what religious wisdom could America, a country still in its youth at 236 years old, have to offer?
Although the country may not have a reputation for religious landmarks, America is home to more than just secular city halls and strip malls.... Read this in full (and see photos) at
WHEN EVANGELICALS WERE COOL
by Philip Jenkins
Historians often have problems dealing with popular culture. On the one hand, they know that novels, music albums, and even comics influence a vast audience, but there is always some embarrassment about treating them seriously in sober political accounts. In consequence, we tend to miss critical parts of major stories.
Here's a case in point. When we write the history of the United States in the twentieth century, it's hard to overstate the significance of the 1970s religious revival, which some call a Fourth Great Awakening. The movement gave a whole new social and political space to born-again Christianity, and we now have magnificent studies of the era like Darren Dochuk's recent case-study of Southern California in From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism.... Read this in full at
IGNITE THE NEXT GREAT AWAKENING
As part of a growing national movement to ignite spiritual awakening in America, more than 14,000 churches are expected to invite people to come back to church on National Back To Church Sunday (NBTCS), Sept. 16.
Although 83% of American adults identify themselves as Christians, only about 20% attend church on any given Sunday.... Read this in full at
SOUTH CAROLINA JUDGED ORDERED A DRUNK DRIVER TO STUDY THE BOOK OF JOB
After Cassandra Belle Tolley pleaded guilty to driving drunk and crashing into a car, seriously injuring two people, a judge sentenced her to eight years in jail followed by five years of probation and substance abuse counseling.
Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles also included another order in the sentence, one that’s much less common. Tolley must read the Old Testament book of Job and write a summary.
It’s a rare ruling, according to legal experts. Similar sentences have raised constitutional concerns, but Tolley’s case is special.... Read this in full at
“The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together.”
- Robert C. Dodds
VERSE TO PONDER
Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.”
- Matthew 4:4 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: PRAISE THE SAVIOR, YE WHO KNOW HIM
Words: Thomas Kelly, 1806
Music: traditional German melody
Praise the Savior, ye who know Him!
Who can tell how much we owe Him?
Gladly let us render to Him
All we are and have.
Jesus is the Name that charms us,
He for conflict fits and arms us;
Nothing moves and nothing harms us
While we trust in Him.
Trust in Him, ye saints, forever,
He is faithful, changing never;
Neither force nor guile can sever
Those He loves from Him.
Keep us, Lord, O keep us cleaving
To Thyself, and still believing,
Till the hour of our receiving
Promised joys with Thee.
Then we shall be where we would be,
Then we shall be what we should be,
Things that are not now, nor could be,
Soon shall be our own.
>from NetHymnal at
“Instinctively and automatically [the carnal mind] will mobilize all the reasons it can conceive of for not praying now: You are too busy; your mind is too preoccupied; your heart is not inclined toward prayer; later on you will have more time, your mind will be more calm and collected, and you will be able to pray in a more devotional frame of mind... Before you know it, the entire day is gone, and you have not had a single quiet hour with God.”
- O. Hallesby (1879-1961), Prayer, London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1943, reprint, Augsburg Fortress Books, 1975, 1994, p. 88-89
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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Some minds are like concrete -- all mixed up and permanently set.
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.
Path Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
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