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For week of August 5, 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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“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Have no regard for his appearance or stature, because I haven’t selected him. God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the LORD sees into the heart.’”
- 1 Samuel 16:7 (CEB)
“I set out to find a friend but couldn't find one; I set out to be a friend, and friends were everywhere.”
LARGEST NORTH AMERICAN EVANGELISTIC EVENT IN 60 YEARS
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association announced plans to hold the largest North American evangelistic event in more than 60 years of Billy Graham's ministry on the week of his 95th birthday next year.
Unlike the huge stadium outreaches that he is perhaps best known for, the "My Hope With Billy Graham" event (http://www.myhopewithbillygraham.org/) planned for on Nov. 7, 2013, will use the latest in media distribution technology to present the evangelist's gospel message into people's homes and on handheld devices.
Preston Parrish, BGEA vice president for My Hope With Billy Graham, says the event has really been a 10-year project in which the organization has partnered with churches and Christians throughout the world to introduce the gospel through Graham's messages.... Read this in full at
CHRISTIANS AND LAWSUITS
by Clare De Graaf
The couple sat in my office and poured their heart out. Their siblings were tearing the family business apart, sucking a great living out of it, but contributing very little to actually grow the business. (In their opinion.) “They’re parasites and we want them out. Do you know a good Christian lawyer?”
“Yes, I do. But first, I’d like to talk to you about what the Bible has to say regarding lawsuits and then let’s talk about some biblical alternatives to resolving disputes.”
We began by reading out loud together this passage from 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.... Read this in full at
OLYMPICS' RELIGIOUS ROOTS
by Henry G. Brinton
When the Summer Olympics opened in London, there was a version of a religious ritual in the Olympic oath, procession of athletes and lighting of the flame. This was no accident because the modern Olympics have religious roots, though they appear to have largely secular fruits.
I'm reminded of this fact because it was in London in 1908 that an Anglican bishop named Ethelbert Talbot first said, "The most important thing in these Olympics is not so much winning as taking part" — a phrase that became part of the Olympic creed. He was following in the footsteps of Catholic priest Henri Didon, who gets credit for the official Olympic motto citius, altius, fortius (faster, higher, stronger). When Didon was a seminarian in the mid-1800s,his superiors organized "Olympic games" for the students, years before the first modern Olympiad in 1896.... Read this in full at
US ARCHER: GOD HAS USED STRUGGLES TO 'DEEPEN MY TRUST'
Jennifer Nichols admits that the road to this year's Olympics has been one of the most trying times of her life.
"My faith has been challenged more than ever before in the last few years," the U.S. archer said. "I really can see how the Lord has used the struggles and hardships I've had to deal with to deepen my relationship with Him and my trust in Him."
The trials, however, have proven to strengthen Nichols' faith in the Lord and to help her rest on Him in the midst of uncertainty and confusion.
"All I had was Him to run to," she said. "It has been hard and painful but so sweet at the same time. I can see how He has brought me back to really grounding myself in my identity in Christ, knowing that I am called to come and die and follow Christ to the cross for the sake of love.... Read this in full at
VICTORY IN THE LORD'S HANDS, US ARCHERS SAY
Brady Ellison, Jacob Wukie, and Jake Kaminski became the first Americans to capture a medal in the London Olympics, winning silver in the men's archery team competition July 28.
The US trio scored a big win over South Korea in the semifinals before falling to Italy 219-218 in a gold medal match that came down to the last arrow. The Italians needed a perfect 10 on the last shot and got it.
During the match, Ellison wore the Scripture reference Proverbs 21:31 on his right hand: "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord." .... Read this in full at
BEYOND THE OLYMPICS: THE UNSEEN RACE
Each Olympics entails abounding fanfare and meticulous preparation in "going for the gold" and "winning the prize."
Pause to think of the energy expended by athletes as they strive with tremendous effort to obtain the highest level of recognition within their field. Consider their devotion to their respective sport as they fix their gaze on winning the gold medal. Many have trainers and staff to help them. They take tremendous care to prepare their bodies through years of effort and endurance.
They practice, practice, practice and practice some more. They endeavor with great discipline and effort to reach their goals.
The Apostle Paul used the symbolism of running a race to capture the idea of how to live out the Christian life:.... Read this in full at
OLYMPICS ART SHOW FEATURES FAITH-INSPIRED PAINTING
Christian artist Leighton Autrey is just one of four American artists whose work is being displayed at the 2012 Olympics Art Show in London.
Autrey’s piece, titled “Wavering, James 1:2-8,” depicts a man being thrown by a large wave, which Autrey says represents the man’s doubt. “That’s what happens if you doubt God and doubt yourself and doubt your abilities that God gave you,” Autrey said. “You have to trust in Him and trust in what He’s given you, and, if you do, you will prosper.”
Prior to his work as an artist, Autrey was headed toward a career in professional baseball. Shortly after getting drafted by the Seattle Mariners, however, a family crisis caused him to rethink a career in art. Only 12 works of art were accepted into the London Olympics art show.... Read this in full at
A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF OLYMPIC MINISTRY IN LONDON WHERE CHRISTIAN OUTREACH IS PART OF THE CULTURE
by Mark Tronson
British culture throughout its history and social engagement has been thoroughly rooted in city, regional and rural communities within the Christian context.
One only needs to have a cursory knowledge of English history to know that the English reformation went hand in hand with Government Parliamentary Legislation. Great leaders such as John Wesley and William Wilberforce have had a profound influence upon the nation to name just two of a multitude of such people.
Great missionary societies came out of England not least William Carey who took missionary Gospel to India and Hudson Taylor to China. Books such as Five Great Christian Leaders of the 17th Century illustrate the breadth and depth that the Christian message had upon the nation.... Read this in full at
OLYMPIC ATHLETE LOUIS ZAMPERINI, AT 94, IS STILL ‘UNBROKEN’ AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
By Dan Wooding
I have interviewed some extraordinary people in my more than 43 years as a journalist, but some time back I was able to meet with one of the most inspiring men I have ever met. His name is Louis Zamperini, a true living legend who, at the age of 94, is still serving the Lord.
My wife Norma joined me as we drove up through a winding road in the star-studded Hollywood Hills to the home of Zamperini, where I was able to interview this incredible man who is the subject of a new book called “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” which immediately became a best-seller, and was written by Laura Hillenbrand, the acclaimed author of “Seabiscuit.”
The book chronicles the extraordinary early life of this former Olympic athlete, POW, and committed Christian.... Read this in full at
THE SECRET ABOUT CONTENTMENT
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” -Hebrews 13:5
Contentment lies not in what is ours but in whose we are. When we come into a relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ, we understand whose we are and what we have. Envy causes us to look horizontally at what others have — and so we are never satisfied. We pursue the God of money, thinking about what it can buy us. Contentment invites us to look vertically at God. When we look in his direction, we know he is enough.
Contentment is the secret to inward peace. It remembers the bare truth that we brought nothing into the world and can take nothing out of it, including our money. Life, in fact, is a journey from one moment of vulnerability to another. So we should travel light and live simply. The reality for most people is that we have enough — whatever enough is. We would be well-advised to be content with what we have.
Being content with less stuff and not envying those with a lot are tough challenges that require a dependence on and satisfaction in God. We must trust him and not money.
Too often we take our eyes off God and put them on earthly pursuits, with money most often being at the top of our lists. Money has the frightfully dangerous power of overshadowing God in our lives. The heart can only love one thing at a time. When we choose to love God, we will discover the marvelous benefit of contentment and the lack of satisfaction from money. Keep your focus, therefore, on God. He is enough.
Prayer: Lord, help me to keep my focus on you when.
(Source: Once-A-Day Men & Women of the Bible Devotional)
MAX LUCADO GOES OVERBOARD ON GRACE
Max Lucado has been preaching for decades and has written more than 50 books, so you'd think by now he would have gotten everything off his chest. But, he tells Christianity Today, when it comes to grace, one can never quite do that. Thus the reason for his latest volume, due out in September: Grace: More than We Deserve, Greater that We Can Imagine (Thomas Nelson). Lucado, renowned author and preacher at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, unpacked some fresh dimensions of grace with Mark Galli, CT's senior managing editor.... Read this in full at
BIBLE MUSEUM CLOSES $50 MILLION DEAL FOR D.C. SPOT
Planners of a Bible museum in Washington closed a $50 million deal July 26 on a building two blocks from the National Mall.
The Museum of the Bible, a nonprofit group planning the, as yet, unnamed museum, announced it will be housed at 300 D Street, SW, in what is now the Washington Design Center, a series of showrooms of luxury home furnishings.... Read this in full at
OLD TESTAMENT RHAPSODY AND REGRET
by David M. Weinberg
The annual Herzog College Bible study seminar at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut – attended recently by over 6,000 men and women, young and old, religious and secular – is a magnificent enterprise, an intellectual treat, and an exhilarating spiritual experience. Yet the Israeli press regularly ignores this uplifting event, year after year. The military censor itself couldn’t have done a better job of blocking news of the conference.
Why? Probably because Israeli journalists are embarrassed by the Bible’s popularity. They’re petrified that so many people feel that the Bible is relevant.... Read this in full at
LORD, SAVIOR… PAL?
by Rick Marschall
Does God have a sense of humor? Speaking personally, I get grouchy whenever I hear the lame responses like, “Just look in the mirror!” or “Check out the platypus!” These lines are facile and obvious – but they are also spiritually offensive. God created you; He created the mirror; and He even created the platypus, according to His will. Humor is a matter more serious than glib wisecracks.
Whether God has a sense of humor is to some people an open question, but ultimately a silly question. Existentially, God has a sense of humor since senses of humor exist in the world. How it is manifested is a bit problematic – something to add to your long list of “questions to ask the Lord on your first day in heaven.”
In fact there are few biblical instances of God laughing. When He does, it’s usually in derision: laughing contemptuously at the wicked or the condemned. Returning to the existential, it is not intellectual presumption to assume that if Jesus wept (see the shortest verse in Scripture) He surely must have laughed too.... Read this in full at
TOUGH AS NAILS
A former sergeant in the Marine Corps took a new job as a high school teacher. But just before the school year started, he injured his back. He was required to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. Fortunately, the cast fit under his shirt and wasn't noticeable.
On the first day of class, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in the school. The smart-aleck punks, having already heard the new teacher was a former Marine, were leery of him and he knew they would be testing his discipline in the classroom.
Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, the new teacher opened the window wide and sat down at his desk. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he picked up a stapler and stapled the tie to his chest.
He had no trouble with discipline the rest of the year.
“Truthfulness is much more than the absence of lies. It is genuine communication of minds and hearts. Real truthfulness reflects the character of God, who is always exactly what He says he is, and who speaks painful but joyful truth, never any small talk to our hearts. Think of Jesus: ever kind, but relentlessly truthful.”
- Tim Stafford
WHAT SPECIAL FORCES CHAPLAINS HAVE LEARNED ABOUT THE MINISTRY OF PRESENCE
by Marshall Shelley
Sometime after midnight, the Army airborne platoon met for the pre-mission briefing. In moments they would board aircraft in Kandahar for action against insurgents. This particular mission involved working in coordination with an elite commando unit.
At this time in Afghanistan, such missions were carried out every night that there was (1) good weather and (2) good intelligence. This night, they had both.... Read this in full at
THE END OF THE CHURCH AS WE KNOW IT
by Amy Butler
Has anybody out there noticed that church attendance has been lower lately? The church budget is stretched thin because fewer people are giving? You can’t get a commitment out of people who are so busy they are already making summer plans -- for next summer? Welcome to the reality of church decline.
There has been quite a bit in the media lately about the trending decline of the institutional church and ongoing conversation about what strategy might ensure its sustainability. Countless observers of American religious life have noted that the church, all versions, is struggling. What they mean by decline is that fewer people are attending church, churches and denominational entities are getting organizationally smaller and there’s less money to go around.
This decline is not a suggestion or a guess but a fact. Even with the occasional mega church on the corner or some communities where these symptoms of decline don’t seem to be readily evident, they are there, just beneath the surface, or they are coming soon.... Read this in full at
POLL: MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WOULD VOTE FOR AN ATHEIST FOR PRESIDENT
For the second time in less than a year, the Gallup poll reports that a majority of Americans would vote for an atheist for president.
The latest survey, from June, finds that 54% of those asked said they would vote a “well- qualified” atheist into the Oval Office — the highest percentage since Gallup began asking the question in 1958, when only 18% said they would back a nonbeliever.... Read this in full at
MORALS HELP PEOPLE BEHAVE
A new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll reveals that 7-in-10 Americans say that "morals and principles" keep them from behaving badly - compared to fewer than 1-in-5 who said the same of "religion." The poll also found that only 52% of American college graduates know that there are nine justices on the Supreme Court.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves.”
- James 1:22 (CEB)
“You are more evil than you have ever feared, and more loved than you have ever hoped.”
- Mark Driscoll
THE ART OF RELIGIOUS SUNBATHING: GIVING UP TRYING TO BE IN CONTROL
by Giles Fraser
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams once brilliantly compared prayer to sunbathing. "When you're lying on the beach something is happening, something that has nothing to do with how you feel or how hard you're trying. You're not going to get a better tan by screwing up your eyes and concentrating. You give the time, and that's it. All you have to do is turn up. And then things change, at their own pace. You simply have to be there where the light can get at you."
Too much prayer is seen as effort, as an attempt to make things different by some mental act of will. But the world does not revolve around you or me. And I can't make it or other people dance to my tune by strenuously wishing things were other than they are. There is no magic involved. It's not about mysteriously offering up some shopping list of proposals to an absent-minded deity who might not have thought about them had you not suggested them first. It's not cosmic lobbying. The fundamental move is to give up trying to be in control.... Read this in full at
DUTCHMAN BUILDS REPLICA NOAH'S ARK AFTER FLOOD DREAM
A Dutchman has built a replica of Noah's Ark (http://www.arcofnoah.org/) to biblical proportions, following a dream his homeland would be flooded.
Johan Huibers, a wealthy businessman, used the ancient measurement of the cubit - the length of a man's arm from elbow to fingertips - to build the vessel to the dimensions specified in the book of Genesis.
The finished craft - which has just been opened to the public on the Merwede River in the Dutch town of Dordrecht - is 300 cubits long (about 450 feet or 137 meters), 50 cubits wide (about 70 feet or 21 meters), and 30 cubits high (about 45 feet or 14 meters).... Read this in full and see photos at
C.S. LEWIS: "CHRISTIANITY IS NOT THE SORT OF THING ANYONE WOULD HAVE MADE UP"
by Dr. Chris Brauns
C.S. Lewis said that one of the reasons that he believes Christianity is that it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. In Mere Christianity, he wrote:
“Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion that you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have. So let us leave behind all thee boys’ philosophies – - these over simple answers. The problem is not simple and the answer is not going to be simple either. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book II, chapter 2, “The Invasion,” page 36).” .... Read this in full at
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN COUNSELORS (AACC) LAUNCHES ABORTION, SEXUAL TRAUMA AND HEALING DIVISION
The American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the world's leading faith-based counseling organization, announces the launch of a new professional division focusing on Abortion, Sexual Trauma and Healing. Julie Woodley, ministry outreach representative at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, will provide leadership and serve as the division head, joined by an advisory board of Christian professionals. Woodley is also founder and director of Restoring the Heart Ministries.
"We are committed to equipping Christian counselors and the entire 'community of care' --licensed professionals, pastors, and lay church members with little or no formal training -- to provide the best possible mental health and soul care, ultimately leading clients toward maturity in Christ," said AACC president, Dr. Tim Clinton.... Read this in full at
GOOD NEWS FOR ALL
by Mike Slaughter
Some of us in many traditions too often see evangelism as simply introducing people to Jesus only as a means to get to heaven. It neglects discipleship as well as the broader dimension of Jesus’ gospel of the Kingdom of God. Others fall into the trap of excluding personal evangelism purely for the goal of social activism. It’s too bad we so often err on one side or the other in this false dichotomy we’ve set up between personal salvation and social justice.... Read this in full at
MULTIPLE DISABILITIES ARE NO BARRIER FOR AMAZING JEFFO
Afflicted with life-threatening colitis, crippling rheumatoid arthritis, total blindness, severe stuttering, and life expectancy of 13 years, Jeff Smith, now 55, has overcome insurmountable odds.
Smith is a magician, comedian, and motivational speaker, a.k.a. Amazing Jeffo (http://www.amazingjeffo.com/video_clips.html), who has wowed 3,500 live audiences - hundreds of thousands of people - in addition to TV and radio shows, and given hope and inspiration through his story.... Read this in full at
People are often unreasonable,
illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
People may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and
some true enemies;
Succeed anyway. People may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough.
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis.
it is between you and God;
It is never between you and them anyway.
STRINGS OF SCRIPTURE
Strings of Scripture (http://www.stringsofscripture.com/) is a poetic arrangement of Bible verses categorized by topics that are relevant to Christians today. The arrangement allows for the book to be used as an innovative tool for topical sermon preparation and Bible study.
Strings of Scripture is divided into Devotionals, Edifications, Emulations, Admonitions, Introspections, Contemplations, and Fundamentals. The book is intended for personal study, group studies, and pre-sermon expositions of related verses. See video examples at
by David Murray
One of the worst things you can be called today is "Homophobic," often defined as "having an irrational fear and hatred of homosexuals." However, while alleged homophobia (together with any opposition to homosexuality) is being aggressively intimidated out of existence by an ever-vigilant media and militant homosexuality, another phobia is growing, Christophobia, "an irrational fear and hatred of Christ and of Christians." Indeed, often those who are most vigilant against homophobia are the most violent in their Christophobia.
Christophobia is not new; it's as old as Luke 8:26-38 where, after Christ delivered a man from thousands of demons, people reacted not by rejoicing but by running away in terror, then urging Him to leave. Even the healed man seems to have felt the crowd's hostility and begged the departing Jesus to take him too.... Read this in full at
STATE DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS GLOBAL RELIGIOUS RESTRICTIONS IN NEW REPORT
Religious minorities continue to suffer loss of their rights across the globe, the State Department reported July 30, with a rise in blasphemy laws and restrictions on faith practices.
Almost half of the world’s governments “either abuse religious minorities or did not intervene in cases of societal abuse,” said Ambassador-at-Large Suzan Johnson Cook at a State Department briefing on the 2011 International Religious Freedom Report.... Read this in full at
HATE SMALL TALK? THESE 5 QUESTIONS WILL HELP YOU WORK ANY ROOM
Questions to get the conversations flowing:
* "What’s your connection to the event?"
* "What’s keeping you busy when you’re not at events like this or at work?"
* "Are you getting away this summer?"
* "Are you working on any charity initiatives?"
* "How did you come to be in your line of work?" .... Read this in full at
“Contentment is natural wealth; luxury is artificial poverty.”
VERSE TO PONDER
“You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.”
- Matthew 5:14,16 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: COME, THOU FOUNT OF EVERY BLESSING
Words: Robert Robinson, 1758
Music: John Wyeth, 1813
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.
>from NetHymnal at
“Every Christian needs a half an hour of prayer each day, except when he is busy, then he needs an hour.”
- Francis de Sales
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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Double-Barreled Wheellock Pistol of Emperor Charles V,
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Mental floss prevents truth decay.
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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