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For week of August 26, 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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“Whenever I feel my foot slipping, your faithful love steadies me, LORD. When my anxieties multiply, your comforting calms me down.”
- Psalm 94:18-19 (CEB)
“With love that knew no fear, the Singer caught his torment, wrapped it all in song, and gave it back to him as peace.”
- Calvin Miller, The Singer
CALVIN MILLER, AUTHOR, PASTOR, PROF, DIES AT 75
Seminary professor, theologian and bestselling Christian author Calvin A. Miller died Aug. 19 of complications following open heart surgery. He was 75.
A former Southern Baptist pastor and professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, Miller had served from 1999-2007 at Samford University's Beeson Divinity School, most recently as professor of preaching and pastoral ministry. He was the founding pastor (1966) of Westside Church, Omaha, NE.
The author of more than 40 books, including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, he was described as a writer of love letters to the Lord. Among his work is The Singer Trilogy, published by InterVarsity Press, and his latest book, Letters to Heaven, published by Worthy Publishing.... Read this in full at
PORK THERAPY AT THE BAY OF PIGS
by Calvin Miller
I never read of the Gerasene Demoniac (Luke 8:26-39) without thinking of Miss Petunia, a sow we once owned. She had the indecency to die one very hot, Oklahoma July day, during my adolescence. She passed away in the sun-baked hoghouse, where she had retired to avoid the relentless sun of that arid summer. The hoghouse had never smelled very good while Miss Petunia lived. But by the time she had been dead for two days. . .well, it is too soon after mealtime to talk about it.
On the fourth evening of her death, it was clear that she would have to be removed, all 400 pounds of her, from the hoghouse. My brother-in-law, who owned the farm where I grew up, usually took care of things like this, but the July heat and the stench being what they were, he felt that God was leading me to be responsible for getting Miss Petunia out of the hoghouse. So, I muffled my face in a dish-towel and crawled up to the hoghouse door and peered in. I could only say, as Mary of Bethany once said, of her brother, Lazarus, "Lord, Lord, Lordy, she hath been dead for four days and she stinketh (John 11.39)." The old sow just laid there like an expired sumo wrestler, reeking and aswarm with maggots. I gagged, removed myself and tried to think: how does one get a four-hundred pound sow out of a hoghouse? .... Read this in full at
10 “THOU SHALTS” FOR EVERYDAY FAITHFULNESS
by Geoff Surratt
As I was reading Hebrews 13, I realized that the writer had laid out a very specific Ten Commandments for God’s will in my day-to-day life.
1. Love each other as brothers and sisters
2. Show hospitality to strangers
3. Remember those in prison
4. Remember those being mistreated
5. Honor marriage and be faithful
6. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have
7. Remember your leaders
8. Don’t be attracted by strange new ideas
9. Do good and share with those in need
10. Obey your spiritual leaders.... Read this in full at
YOU ARE MY REFUGE (PSALM 31:4)
by Alistair Begg
Our spiritual foes belong to the serpent's brood and seek to ensnare us by subtlety. This prayer presupposes the possibility of the believer being caught like a bird. The catcher does his work so skillfully that simple souls are soon surrounded by the net. The request is that even out of Satan's snares the captive may be delivered; this is a proper petition, and one that can be granted: eternal love can rescue the saint from between the jaws of the lion and out of the depths of hell. It may need a sharp pull to save a soul from the net of temptations and a mighty pull to extricate a man from the snares of malicious cunning, but the Lord is equal to every emergency, and the most skillfully placed nets of the hunter will never be able to hold His chosen ones. There will be grief for those who are so clever at net laying; those who tempt others shall be destroyed themselves.... Read this in full at
by Brian Doyle
I, Brian, a sinner, a most simple suburbanite, a generally decent sort but subject to fits of unrelieved selfishness, do here wish to confess and be shriven, in such a manner that speaking of that which I have not done well will provoke me to do better; this slight daily improvement being exactly the work we are asked to do by the Shining One. So then:
I missed my cousin’s funeral because I had weekend plans with a girlfriend that I was not man enough to break; and this beloved cousin was a nun, and to this day, nearly 30 years after I casually blew off her funeral, I am haunted by the story of my sister, also now a nun, leaving a small bowl of white flowers on the altar after the mass, because she and our cousin loved small white flowers, which they felt were overlooked in the world, but which often arrived first and smelled best.
Obsecro ut mihi ignoscas, I beg to be forgiven.... Read this in full at
OBAMA, ROMNEY OPEN UP ABOUT THEIR FAITH IN A CHURCH MAGAZINE
President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have opened up about their religious faith to an unlikely source: Cathedral Age (http://www.nationalcathedral.org/press/PR-5QLKM-RU000F.shtml), the quarterly magazine of the Washington National Cathedral.
The interviews mark a rare instance of Romney talking about Mormonism, while Obama discusses his Christian faith in detail, referencing favorite Christian writers and Bible verses.
The magazine, which has a circulation of 30,000, submitted identical questions in writing to both campaigns and prints the responses in full in the latest edition of its magazine.
The magazine's leadoff question to the candidates: "How does faith play a role in your life?" ....See the video reports at
SADDLEBACK CIVIL FORUM CALLED OFF
Saddleback Church pastor and Purpose-Driven Life author Rick Warren announced Aug. 22 that a civil forum planned with President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been canceled.
Warren, who held a similar event in 2008 featuring then-candidate Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, said he pulled the plug this year because he believes discourse between the two campaigns has become so uncivil that a polite exchange for two hours would seem hypocritical.... Read this in full at
VIDEO: PERSONALIZING GOD’S WORD
Do you ever have a dialogue with God’s Word as you’re reading it? Chuck Swindoll does, and he explains how he sometimes personalizes what he’s reading....See the video at
MAX LUCADO – A MAN WHO LOVES WORDS
by Dan Wooding
Texas-born author and pastor, Max Lucado, is a man who loves words – both spoken and written.
He loves to craft sentences that are memorable, inspiring and hopefully life-changing. In almost 25 years of writing, more than 100 million products — 80 million books — filled with his words have been sold.
Max is the only author to have won three Christian Book of the Year awards — in 1999 for Just Like Jesus, in 1997 for In the Grip of Grace, and in 1995 for When God Whispers Your Name. In 2005, Reader’s Digest magazine dubbed him “America’s Best Preacher” and in 2004, Christianity Today magazine called him “America’s Pastor.”
I caught up with this delightful man at the NRB 2012 Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, where he shared about his life as a pastor, a missionary in Brazil, and also as a best-selling author.... Read this in full at
BIOLA UNLOCKS EDUCATIONAL VAULT, OFFERING HUNDREDS OF FREE RESOURCES
Biola University today announced the launch of Open Biola, an innovative website that offers open access to hundreds of classes, lectures, articles and other educational resources -- all for free.
The easy-to-navigate site -- found at http://open.biola.edu/ -- allows visitors to search, stream, download and share videos and other learning materials that engage a wide range of academic topics from a Christian perspective. Open Biola is believed to be the first such open learning website from a Christian university. As of its launch, Open Biola has 1,317 individual resources from 432 different Biola professors and guest contributors, including more than 829 hours of video and audio. More resources will be added continually throughout the year.... Read this in full at
HUMILITY AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
In an interview in the March-April 2003 issue of The Door, preacher/author Calvin Miller observed, "Michael Card and I are kind of amateur astronomers, and he's much better at it than I am. We were in his backyard one night, and he gave me a book by an astronomer that opened my eyes. When you look through these telescopes you see a pinpoint of light, and you call it a star. We can chart big maps of where the stars are, but the truth is they're nowhere. They're moving horribly fast, but at these great distances at which we live they appear to be stationary.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“By day the LORD commands his faithful love; by night his song is with me — a prayer to the God of my life.”
- Psalm 42:8 (CEB)
“Death is a confirmation of the believer's creed. For the skeptic it is discovery, immense and late."
- Calvin Miller, The Singer Trilogy
DIGITAL BIBLE POPS UP IN MORE PEWS, PULPITS
Not too long ago, the sight of someone using an electronic device during a worship service might lead an observer to assume that person was not fully engaged. But not anymore. Reading the Bible used to mean reading a book, but increasingly, people are getting the Word on smartphones, iPads, and other electronic devices.
So then, what will happen to the printed Bible? The last word has not been written on that, but experts speculate that its unchallenged reign is over.
"The Bible is sort of the flagship of the printed book culture," said Timothy Beal, author of "The Rise and Fall of the Bible" (Mariner, 2011, $15.95). "The printed word is losing its place as the dominant medium for reading." .... Read this in full at
NEW STUDY SUGGESTS YOU CAN GET HIGH OFF A MEGACHURCH SERVICE
A University of Washington study posits that worship services at megachurches can trigger feelings of transcendence and changes in brain chemistry – a spiritual “high” that keeps congregants coming back for more.
“We see this experience of unalloyed joy over and over again in megachurches. That’s why we say it’s like a drug,” said James Wellman, an associate professor of American religion who co-authored the study.
The study, “‘God is like a drug’: Explaining Interaction Ritual Chains in American Megachurches” was presented Aug. 19 at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver.... Read this in full at
WHAT IS BIBLICAL JUSTICE?
by Tim Keller
Although Mark was living a comfortable, safe lives, he became concerned about the most vulnerable, poor and marginalized members of our society, and made long-term personal sacrifices in order to serve their interests, needs and cause.
That is, according to the Bible, what it means to “do justice.”
The Hebrew word for “justice,” mishpat, occurs in its various forms more than 200 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. Its most basic meaning is to treat people equitably. It means acquitting or punishing every person on the merits of the case, regardless of race or social status. Anyone who does the same wrong should be given the same penalty.... Read this in full at
HOW (NOT) TO BE WORLDLY
by James K. A. Smith
In books like Political Evangelism (1973) and When the Kings Come Marching In (1983), Richard Mouw challenged the apolitical, otherworldliness of evangelicals by persistently pointing to two themes in Scripture: (1) God's affirmation of the "very-goodness" of creation (Gen. 1:31), including the commissioning of human beings to undertake cultural labor in this world; and (2) the biblical vision of shalom as our true eschatological hope—a creation renewed and restored and flourishing in accord with God's desires. From beginning to end, Mouw emphasized, the Bible enjoins us to join God's mission of renewing all things (Col. 1:15-19). So, as he provocatively put it in his 1980 book, rather than looking for a divine escape hatch out of this world, we are Called to Holy Worldliness.... Read this in full at
PROFESSOR SAYS HE WAS FIRED FROM ATLANTA SEMINARY OVER EVANGELICAL BELIEFS
A professor who was fired in July by the Interdenominational Theological Center says the Atlanta consortium of black seminaries discriminated against his conservative Christian views.
The Rev. Jamal-Dominique Hopkins, an African-American expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in July. He accused ITC administrators of harassment that included “disagreeing with my conservative religious ideals, intimidating me, slandering my character, giving me poor evaluations, and changing student grades from failing to passing with no merit.”
Hopkins, 42, told Religion News Service that tensions arose after a speaker from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship addressed an informal session he organized in February. During the session, attendees were offered a book that declared homosexuality was a sin.... Read this in full at
APPLYING GOD’S WORD TO THE MARKETPLACE
by Allen L. Andrews
Because of the uncertainty many feel with the economy today, some have become convinced that the market has failed and are questioning if the free market system is still a valid structure for providing opportunity to prosper. As the statement by Kenyon points out, the failure isn’t in the market; it rests squarely on spiritual factors that the truth—God’s Word—reveals to us. Actually, the market worked exactly the way the Word of God said it would. We reap in accordance with what and how we sow (Galatians 6:7-9). Sow according to the world’s system — reap destruction; sow in line with God’s system (His kingdom) — reap life and a good harvest.
There are a number of factors that contribute to adverse economic outcome and the uncertainty and confusion we see today. Three very critical factors are spelled out in the following Scriptures.... Read this in full at
THE WISDOM OF CONSULTANTS
Jesus, Son of Joseph
Woodcrafters Carpenter Shop
Jordan Management Consultants
Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; and we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.
The profiles of all tests are included, and you will want to study each of them.
As part of our service and for your guidance, we make some general comment, much as an auditor will include some general statements. This is given as a result of staff consultation and comes without any additional fee.
It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.
- Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper.
- Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership.
- The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty.
- Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale.
- We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau.
- James, son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus definitely have radical leanings and they both registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale.
One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of great ability and resourcefulness, interacts with people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.
We wish you every success in your new venture.
Jordan Management Consultants
FAR TOO LITTLE SABBATH IN THE SABBATH
by Mark Sandlin
A little over two months ago, I decided I'd spend my three month sabbatical not going to church, which might seem like a perfectly normal thing to do – except that I'm a minister. I've had some strange and wonderful experiences which I've written about, but possibly more strange and more wonderful than the experiences are the responses I've received.
From the very beginning the most frustrating response I get is not folks telling me I'll lose my faith if I leave church (and they have), or the ones telling me I can't begin to understand what it's like to be Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) in three short months (lots of those were also disturbingly aggressively worded), but rather the ones that say, “Oh, 'sabbatical!' Thanks. Now I have a word to call what I do! I stopped going to church years ago.”
“No!,” I'd think while unsuccessfully trying to figure out how to reach through my laptop screen and shake some sense into them, “You are not on sabbatical! The sabbatical I'm taking about has to do with taking a rest, not leaving. It's rest and recuperation – communion with God in a way that is restorative. It's not about leaving! Sheesh.”
More than two months into my sabbatical, I now have to say, “Boy was I wrong.” They are on sabbatical, more so than I am.... Read this in full at
JEFF FOXWORTHY SAYS HE FELT GOD'S CALL TO HOST NEW GAME SHOW
Comedy fans know Jeff Foxworthy for his particular brand of Southern-fried humor, with many of his best one-liners beginning, "You might be a redneck if ..." In more recent years, he's become better known as the host of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, which enjoyed a popular four-year run on Fox TV before being cancelled last year.
Now Foxworthy is gearing up for his next TV gig as host of The American Bible Challenge, a one-hour show on the Game Show Network (GSN). Foxworthy, 53, looks forward to hosting the show that will test contestants' knowledge of Scripture; teams play to win money for charities.
Foxworthy spoke to Christianity Today about his new job, his faith, his sense of humor, and his desire to make the Bible more accessible to millions of viewers.... Read this in full at
REPORT HIGHLIGHTS CONSISTENT PATTERN OF HOSTILITY TOWARD CHRISTIANS IN US
A new 140-page report released by the Family Research Council and Liberty Institute reveals a pattern of hostility toward Christians and Christianity in the U.S. The report was released earlier this week and includes over 600 incidents over a 10-year period.
The attacks range from rulings from the judiciary branch to an elementary school student who was physically lifted from his seat and reprimanded for praying before eating his lunch. Yet another example shows a Christian couple was fired as apartment complex managers and forced to move because a painting with a Christian reference was displayed in their office.... Read this in full at
“Love is substance; Lust, illusion. Only in the surge of passion do the two mingle in confusion.”
- Calvin Miller, The Singer Trilogy
VERSE TO PONDER
“I always put the LORD in front of me; I will not stumble because he is on my right side.”
- Psalm 16:8 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: AFFLICTIONS, THOUGH THEY SEEM SEVERE
Words: John Newton, 1779
Music: attributed to Jeremiah Clarke 1707
Afflictions, though they seem severe;
In mercy oft are sent;
They stopped the prodigal’s career,
And forced him to repent.
Although he no relentings felt
Till he had spent his store;
His stubborn heart began to melt
When famine pinched him sore.
“What have I gained by sin, he said,
But hunger, shame, and fear;
My father’s house abounds with bread,
While I am starving here.
I’ll go, and tell him all I’ve done,
And fall before his face
Unworthy to be called his son,
I’ll seek a servant’s place.”
His father saw him coming back,
He saw, and ran, and smiled;
And threw his arms around the neck
Of his rebellious child.
“Father, I’ve sinned—but O forgive!”
I’ve heard enough, he said,
Rejoice my house, my son’s alive,
For whom I mourned as dead.
Now let the fatted calf be slain,
And spread the news around;
My son was dead, but lives again,
Was lost, but now is found.
’Tis thus the Lord His love reveals,
To call poor sinners home;
More than a father’s love He feels,
And welcomes all that come.
>from NetHymnal at
“We can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength.” Charles Stanley
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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All those in favor of reducing gasoline consumption, raise your right foot.
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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