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For week of July 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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“I hurry to keep your commandments — I never put it off!”
- Psalm 119:60 (CEB)
“To become Christ-like is the only thing in the whole world worth caring for, the thing before which every ambition of man is folly and all lower achievement vain.”
- Henry Drummond
SHOULD WE STOP ASKING JESUS INTO OUR HEARTS?
by J.D. Greear
If there were a Guinness Book of World Records record for "amount of times having asked Jesus into your heart," I'm pretty sure I would hold it.
By the time I reached the age of 18 I had probably "asked Jesus into my heart" 5,000 times. I started somewhere around age 4 when I approached my parents one Saturday morning asking how someone could know that they were going to heaven. They carefully led me down the "Romans Road to Salvation," and I gave Jesus his first invitation into my heart.
Both my parents and my pastor felt confident of my sincerity and my grasp on the details, and so I was baptized. We wrote the date in my Bible and I lived in peace about the matter for nearly a decade.
One Friday night during my 9th grade year, however, my Sunday school teacher told us that according to Matthew 7:21-23, many people who think they know Jesus will awaken on that final day to the reality that he never really knew them. Though they had prayed a prayer to receive Jesus, they had never really been born again and never taken the lordship of Jesus seriously. They would, my teacher explained, be turned away from heaven into everlasting punishment with the terrifying words, "Depart from me, you workers of iniquity. I never knew you." .... Read this in full at
by Dr. James Emery White
The Chevy Nova was a relatively successful American car for many years. Encouraged by US sales, Chevrolet began to market the American Nova throughout the world. Unfortunately, the Nova did not sell well in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Additional ads were ordered, marketing efforts were stepped up, but sales remained stagnant.
Sales directors were baffled. The car had sold well in the American market; why wasn’t it selling now? When they discovered the answer, it was rather embarrassing: In Spanish, Nova means “nogo.”
Evangelism involves effectively communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ with the goal of seeing an individual come to saving faith in Christ. The New Testament model for evangelism is to pursue this communication through contextualization, which simply means that the message of the Christian faith is to be presented in a way that makes sense to the person hearing it. Think of the evangelistic efforts of Jesus.... Read this in full at
LOVE, NO STRINGS ATTACHED
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
“What motivated John to write five of the books of the New Testament? What sustained him through those turbulent first years of the church when persecution was rampant — when as many as eleven of his fellow apostles died violent deaths? What enabled him to cope with his own lonely exile on the isle of Patmos?
“Perhaps the answer is found in an idea that John mentioned repeatedly in his writings. That recurring theme is love. The words love, loves and loved are used more than 50 times in John’s Gospel, and there are at least that many references to love in John’s epistles. John was so amazed by God's unconditional love and acceptance that he even began referring to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23; 19:26; 21:7,20)!
“It feels wonderful to be loved by another human, but when we catch a glimpse of the depths of the love of God, we are awestruck. His love comes with no conditions, no strings attached. And once embraced, it has transforming power, taking ordinary sinners like John and changing them into extraordinary servants of God.
“Have you ever pondered God’s infinite love for you? More than that, have you accepted the priceless gift of forgiveness and salvation that he offers?”
- Source: Once-A-Day Men & Women of the Bible Devotional
A RESPONSE TO THE COLORADO SHOOTINGS
by Paul Louis Cole, Christian Men's Network (http://www.christianmensnetwork.com/)
As the tragic gunshots of Colorado echo inside our collectively stunned hearts, the cries of victims ring out daily from the bloodied streets of Syria to the dying barrios of Jaurez. It seems as though 'chaos' has come alive, and gripped our world by the throat.
In the biblical account of creation, the first recorded acts of God, it says there was, "chaos across the face of the earth." So what did he do? He thundered across the universe a phrase that is still alive today; "Let there be light!"
How do we respond to the chaos across the globe, thinking people must boldly declare, "Let there be light!" Light brings clarity to life.... Read this in full at
MASS KILLINGS IN COLORADO: IMPACTING OUR VIOLENT WORLD THROUGH THE POWER OF PRAYER
When we hear of horrendous incidents like the shooting deaths in an Aurora, CO movie theater, it can make us want to retreat from the larger world or to stop watching the news altogether. But Craig von Buseck, Director of Ministry for CBN.com, offers another option: intercessory prayer.
As he shows in his new book “Praying the News: Your Prayers are More Powerful Than You Know,” co-authored with Wendy Griffith of CBN News, prayer can change people, transform communities, and solve problems facing our world. By praying to impact headlines, we impact more than just the way the news is reported - we impact the actual events that make up those headlines.... Read this in full at
ILIFF ENCOURAGES SPIRITUAL AND SELF CARE IN WAKE OF COLORADO SHOOTINGS
Best-practices of spiritual first aid are encouraged by professionals of the Iliff School of Theology (Iliff), as Coloradoans and others nationwide try to make sense of the shootings that occurred in a Colorado movie theater in the early hours of July 20.
“Feeling safe is the bottom-line here,” said Carrie Doehring, Ph.D., associate professor, pastoral care and counseling and a licensed psychologist. “In the aftermath of catastrophe, it’s important that we’re offering spiritual care to people who are reeling from this tragedy. In the simplest terms, this means connecting with people, listening and extending ordinary acts of kindness.”
Doehring suggests that simple acts, such as making a phone call, scheduling coffee with a friend, or connecting on a social network such as Facebook, can be significant in times of tragedy.... Read this in full at
by Rick Marschall
Death by Pop Culture. The last thing Aurora, Colorado needs is the last thing the world needs in response to the multiplex murders: politicians and news crews infesting the community, imposing hugs on survivors, and “standing together,” whatever that means. Haven’t those people suffered enough?
In America, bizarre killing sprees have become part of the contemporary socio-entertainment complex, down to the killers identifying with fictional villains. A dark night has risen, when people are more willing to adopt psychopaths as role models, eager to endure obloquy, or even self-immolation, than to work toward positive personal achievement.... Read this in full at
LEE STROBEL PROBES 'WHY?' DURING FIRST SUNDAY SERVICE AFTER COLORADO SHOOTING
Author and evangelist Lee Strobel was scheduled to speak at Cherry Hills Community Church about marriage, but changed the theme of his message to answer the question, "Why does God allow tragedy and suffering?"
It is important to remember that even though we can't understand everything about human suffering, "we can understand some things," he said.
Strobel described how God bestowed on us free will, then added, "But unfortunately, we humans have abused our free will by rejecting God and walking away from Him. And that has resulted in the introduction of two kinds of evil into the world: moral evil and natural evil.
"Moral evil is the immorality and pain and suffering and tragedy that come because we choose to be selfish, arrogant, uncaring, hateful and abusive. Romans 3:23 says 'All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,'" he said.... Read this in full at
THE MYTH OF REDEMPTIVE VIOLENCE
by Shane Claiborne
I had a veteran friend once tell me, "The biggest lie I have ever been told is that violence is evil, except in war." He went on, "My government told me that. My church told me that. My family told me that. ... I came back from war and told them the truth -- 'Violence is not evil, except in war. ... Violence is evil -- period.'"
Every day it seems like we are bombarded with news stories of violence -- a shooting in Colorado, a bus bombing in Bulgaria, drones gone bad and the threat of a nuclear Iran, a civil war in Syria, explosions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Our world is filled with violence -- like a plague, an infection, a pandemic of people killing people and people killing themselves. In my city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, we have nearly one homicide a day -- and in this land of the free we have over 10,000 homicides a year.
Today, Barack Obama called the shooting in Colorado "evil." And he is right.
But perhaps it is also time that we declare that violence is evil, everywhere -- period. It's obvious that killing folks in a movie theater is sick and deranged, but the question arises: Is violence ever OK? .... Read this in full at
EARLY ISRAELITE DIG HELPS DEFINE DAVID AND SOLOMON
by Gordon Govier
Two small portable shrines are giving Bible scholars new clues about Israelite religious practices during the time of David and Solomon. They also indicate a pendulum swing in the world of biblical archaeology.
Hebrew University archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel showcased the shrines at a news conference in May. They were discovered during last summer's excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, a ruin overlooking Israel's Elah Valley dated to 1020-980 BC.
The Elah Valley was where David brought down the giant Goliath, signaling the beginning of the end of Philistine hegemony over the Israelites. Similarly, the discoveries at Khirbet Qeiyafa herald the diminishing influence of minimalist Bible critics who have discounted the importance of the biblical kings.... Read this in full at
THE KIND OF PEOPLE WHO GROW GOOD FRUIT
“Perhaps there is no way to discover joy but as surprise.
“The humble live surprised. The humble live by joy. The humble are the laid-low and bowed ones, the surprised ones with hands open to receive whatever He gives.
“He hands them the earth. The earth. [Matthew 5:5]
“But is it any wonder? That word humility itself comes from the Latin root humus - the kind of earth that grows good crops. God gives the earth to the humus-people, the humble ones. Humility is that good humus that grows gratitude that yields abundant joy.
“In the upside-down kingdom of heaven, down is up and up is down, and those who want to ascend higher must descend lower. To receive God's gifts, to live exalted and joy filled, isn't a function of straining higher, harder, doing more. Receiving God's gifts is a gentle movement of stooping lower.”
- Source: Selections from One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters by Ann Voskamp
LONDON’S CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY READY FOR THE OLYMPICS
London is awash with Christian ministry engagements with not one, not two, not three, but numerous Christian groups ministering across the city and throughout the British Isles.
Here is a rundown of some of the main players:
* Lay Witnesses for Christ International
* Olympic Village Chaplains
* Bible Society
* More Than Gold .... Read this in full at
THE GIFT OF TONGUES AND OTHER SIGN GIFTS
by Clare De Graaf
“I believe that all the gifts of the Spirit are alive and well in the world today. I’m also not a charismatic – that is I’m not aware that I possess any of the sign gifts.”
There, I said it!
For some of you, I just crossed over to the other side. Others of you are confused because in my blogs several weeks ago I identified myself as a member of a dispensational church. Dispensationalists generally view the sign gifts (speaking in tongues, miracles, healing, etc.) as having ended when the apostolic age ended. (When the original apostles died.)
While I’m very grateful for the biblical worldview of dispensationalists, and take seriously most of their theology, a theological system can never be allowed to trump the Bible. And, in my opinion, on this issue, I believe the weight of Scripture is on the side of those who believe that there’s no clear biblical evidence that the sign gifts have ended.... Read this in full at
ELEVATING FAST FOOD
Is it possible to change the world one organic hamburger at a time? The founders of the Elevation Burger chain are going to try. They felt called to build on the positive aspects of the fast-food model to create an Earth-friendlier restaurant that offers healthier food at affordable prices.... Read this in full at
WHY READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY?
by Brian Hardin
The previous year had started like the rest: work hard and then work hard to get more hard work. I’d tossed a New Year’s prayer earnestly enough to God, the one about wanting to get closer to him and read the Bible more, but I had all but forgotten it by the second week of January.
By the end of the year I found myself sitting alone on my couch, devastated. The kingdom of work I’d built had crumbled before my eyes in a matter of months, and now I was in a crisis of faith. I vividly remember the prayer I prayed then. It wasn’t a sinner’s prayer, and it wasn’t eloquent.
“Jesus, I’m done with the crap. I’m finished. If you want me to go to Des Moines and make hamburgers for a living, I’ll pack up our stuff tomorrow and leave. I’m fine with that,” I prayed. “I’m going to believe that you’re nearby and that you can seize me before I hit the bottom. If you don’t, I’m dead. I believe my heart will die, and I fear it will be the last time I care about anything.” .... Read this in full at
ASKING FOR DIRECTIONS
by David Jesse
My wife and kids came with me on a business trip this week. I had plenty of free-time between meetings, so we thought we could integrate a “mini-vacation” into the trip. Everything was going great, until my GPS betrayed me.
The GPS is supposed to be man’s technological best friend. It means never having to stop and ask for directions. It eliminates the millennium-old argument between husbands and wives that inevitably ends in the wife saying, “You should have stopped to ask for directions.” At least that’s what I thought before Monday afternoon.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“Those who lend generously are good people— as are those who conduct their affairs with justice.”
- Psalm 112:5 (CEB)
“The cross of Christ is the sweetest burden that I ever bore; it is such a burden as wings are to a bird, or sails to a ship, to carry me forward to my harbor.”
- Samuel Rutherford
REMEMBERING JOHN STOTT ONE YEAR LATER
July 27 was the one-year anniversary of John Stott’s passing. John Stott Ministries is celebrating his unselfish, inspiring life with the knowledge that his legacy continues to grow, impacting lives for Christ worldwide. As Langham Partnership International Director Chris Wright acknowledges, "Any anxieties that his vision and ministries might suffer when John departed his earthly life have been unfounded...because the vision is now so widely shared around the world." In this article, we take a brief look at some of John Stott’s writings and quotes, reminding us of John Stott’s vision and passion for God’s church.... Read this in full at
HCJB GLOBAL CHAMPIONS RADIO AS TOOL IN BRINGING CLEAN WATER, SANITATION TO THE WORLD
HCJB Global (http://www.hcjb.org/), an evangelical missionary organization integrating broadcast media and healthcare ministries to serve as the voice and hands of Jesus, is utilizing an unlikely tool in new ways to bring clean water and sanitation to the world: radio. Since a recent water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conference in Ghana, Sub-Saharan Africans are receiving essential training and practical applications for their own locales through the airwaves from radio announcers.... Read this in full at
THE SIN OF CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION
by Roger Olson
The other evening my wife and I were watching HGTV and saw part of a show about RVs - recreational vehicles. They were showing off the latest and best motor homes. One had a price tag of over $700,000. The inside looked to me like a fancy gambling casino on the Las Vegas strip (which I’ve only seen on TV). It was, to say the least, gaudy. But even those with price tags in the $200,000 range were over the top in terms of what was inside them. One had three 42 inch LED TVs - one on the outside (so when you’re “camping” you can enjoy your TV experience rather than God’s great outdoors).
Norwegian economist Thorsten Veblen coined the phrase “conspicuous consumption” in 1899 while living in Minnesota. When I was a kid growing up in conservative evangelicalism in the Midwest I heard several sermons preached against the “sin of conspicuous consumption.”
While I’m not in favor of ostracizing church members based on their purchase decisions, I do think it would be appropriate for evangelical Christians (and others) to reflect more deeply on what Christians should do and not do with discretionary income.... Read this in full at
TIM KELLER ON HOW TO PROVIDE A RATIONAL JUSTIFICATION FOR THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
New York City pastor Tim Keller says Christians should be able to present rational arguments for their faith, noting that the "just believe" statement isn't going to cut it, especially today.
In a two-part blog post, Keller states, "Believing has both a head and a heart aspect, so while some non-Christians will need more help with one than the other, we can't ignore either one."
The Redeemer Presbyterian Church pastor was making the case for apologetics, or what apologist William Lane Craig defines as the branch of Christian theology which seeks to provide a rational justification for the truth claims of the Christian faith.... Read this in full at
NEW BOOK CHALLENGES THE CHURCH TO EMPOWER MEN
Often seen as the 800 pound gorilla in the room, most pastors and church leaders have struggled to engage men with both the church’s local and global mission.
Now, with the book “Sleeping Giant: No Movement of God without Men of God,” author Kenny Luck, Men’s Pastor at Saddleback Church and founder of Every Man Ministries, along with Tom Crick, Director of Small Group Health at Saddleback Church give strong medicine addressing the most challenging ministry segment in the church.
According to a news release, the Bible, Luck argues in the book, portrays a God who loves righteousness and justice. But how can the church deliver that justice if it is not effectively reaching, relating to and transforming cultural man? It can only help the victims, not deal with the source.... Read this in full at
BCWI ANNOUNCES 38 BEST CHRISTIAN WORKPLACES FOR 2012
Best Christian Workplaces Institute is pleased to announce the 38 Best Christian Workplaces for 2012 in the United States and Canada. These organizations exemplify best workplaces because they create healthy environments that engage their employees in a fun and meaningful way while making a difference for their communities.
Over the past 12 months, Best Christian Workplaces have been chosen from 88 organizations representing nearly 14,000 workers. Attaining employee engagement is not easy to accomplish as many organizations survey multiple times before achieving BCWI's certification and recognition. The BCW program began in 2002 and is in the US, Canada and Australia- surveying 120,000 employees in 500 organizations to date. All participating organizations have a stated Christian mission and/or values. The 2012 list includes: .... Read this in full at
10 RELIGIOUS COMPANIES (BESIDES CHICK-FIL-A)
Here are 10 well-known companies that don't make religious products - we're not talking kosher foods manufacturer Manischewitz here - but that nonetheless take their religious sides seriously (listed in no particular order) .... Read this in full at
ORALITY: CHANGING THE FACE OF MISSIONS AROUND THE WORLD
by Jerry Wiles, president emeritus, Living Water International
An important aspect of Orality Strategies is the appropriate use of questions. Have you noticed how questions prompt people to think in ways they might not otherwise? Questions create interest and curiosity and can bring clarity. A friend and mentor of mine says it is important to ask the fog-cutting questions.
Dr. Robert E. Coleman, respected scholar, theologian and author of many classic books on evangelism and disciple making, has pointed out that of the 183 questions that Jesus was asked, as recorded in the New Testament, He only answered three of them directly. The others He answered by asking another question or telling a story or parable.
A large part of Living Water International’s Orality training strategies is the use of questions. Questions are very important, both in sharing the gospel and in disciple-making efforts. Sometimes we start with a question, and other times with a story. In relation to sharing the gospel (personal evangelism), it works well to just start with a question.... Read this in full at
“The saints are the sinners who keep on trying.”
- Robert Louis Stevenson
VERSE TO PONDER
“I’ve chosen the way of faithfulness; I’m set on your rules.”
- Psalm 119:30 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: SING WITH ALL THE SAINTS IN GLORY
Words: William J. Irons, 1873
Music: Hymn to Joy, from Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony; adapted by Edward Hodges, 1824
Sing with all the saints in glory, sing the resurrection song!
[originally Sing with all the sons of glory…]
Death and sorrow, earth’s dark story, to the former days belong.
All around the clouds are breaking, soon the storms of time shall cease;
In God’s likeness we, awaking, know the everlasting peace.
O what glory, far exceeding all that eye has yet perceived!
Holiest hearts, for ages pleading, never that full joy conceived.
God has promised, Christ prepares it, there on high our welcome waits.
Every humble spirit shares it; Christ has passed th’eternal gates.
Life eternal! heaven rejoices; Jesus lives, who once was dead.
Join we now the deathless voices; child of God, lift up your head!
Patriarchs from the distant ages, saints all longing for their heaven,
Prophets, psalmists, seers, and sages, all await the glory given.
Life eternal! O what wonders crowd on faith; what joy unknown,
When, amidst earth’s closing thunders, saints shall stand before the throne!
O to enter that bright portal, see that glowing firmament;
Know, with Thee, O God immortal, “Jesus Christ Whom Thou has sent.”
>from NetHymnal at
“Perfect prayer is only another name for love.”
- François Fénelon
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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I'd give you a piece of my mind, but I'm on the last one.
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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