Connecting man to man to God
For week of September 9, 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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“So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.”
- Rom. 14:12 (CEB)
“We judge others by their actions; we judge ourselves by our intentions.”
- Author Unknown
STUDY: MOST CHURCHGOERS DON'T READ BIBLE DAILY
While the majority of churchgoers desire to honor Christ with their lives and even profess to think on biblical truths, a recent study found few actually engage in personal reading and study of the Scriptures.
"Bible engagement" is one of the eight attributes of discipleship identified in the Transformational Discipleship study conducted by LifeWay Research. The study produced the Transformational Discipleship Assessment, which measures an individual's spiritual growth in each of these areas of development.
The survey found 90% of churchgoers agree that "I desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do," and 59% agree with the statement: "Throughout the day I find myself thinking about biblical truths." While the majority agree with both statements, there is a significant difference in the strength of agreement. Nearly two-thirds of churchgoers (64%) strongly agree with the first statement, but only 20% strongly agree with the second.... Read this in full at
ALL OF GOD
“An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.”
- A. W. Tozer
CamPAIN RELIEF TO START AFTER POLITICAL CONVENTIONS END
With the end of the political conventions comes the official start of the 2012 US presidential campaign season, prompting feelings of angst among beleaguered citizens. According to Gallup research, 75% of swing state voters and 70% of all voters already can’t wait for the election to be over. People say the divisive nature of increasingly negative political rhetoric produces feelings of anxiety, frustration, and confusion.
A separate campaign has begun online that offers reassuring daily solace in the form of specially selected Bible verses paired with stunning, original nature photographs – available by email through election day. UPWORD 2012 (http://SeeGodsWordinAction.com/UPWORD2012) is sponsored by God’s Word In Action, the charitable giving program of Thomas Nelson Bibles.... Read this in full at
LESS THAN HALF OF CHURCHGOERS KNOW ABOUT MEMBERSHIP, STUDY SUGGESTS
Many people appear to be confused about what it means to be members in their churches - that is, if they know their church offers membership at all.
A new study from Grey Matter Research indicates that 33% of worshipers surveyed believe their church does not offer any sort of membership, while 19% said they were not sure. This means that less than half of respondents know about membership offerings in their church.
Yet, all 10 of the largest denominations in the US - including the Roman Catholic Church, Southern Baptist Convention, United Methodist Church, and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - offer some form of official church membership. Among constituents of these denominations, however, only 44% say their church offers official membership. Nearly 40% of attendees believe these churches do not offer membership, while 17% are unsure.... Read this in full at
A “CHRISTIAN BAR MITZVAH”
by Clare De Graaf
Last September my son-in-law, Tony, several other men and myself gathered around our thirteen year old grandson, Max, laid hands on him, prayed over him and pronounced him a man – a man of God. We were all in tears. While we were happy for Max, some of us realized in that moment just how much we wish we’d have had the blessing of our fathers.
This idea of one generation passing on a blessing, a sign of approval, of manhood and with it the responsibility to act as a man is as old as mankind. (Think of Isaac’s blessing of Jacob.) However in modern, western societies that practice has been largely lost.
God triggered this idea for a passage to manhood for our grandson when I had the privilege of attending a Bar Mitzvah for a 13 year old Jewish young man in Washington, DC a few years back. I was so impressed with the young man’s poise and maturity, that at the end of the ceremony I asked the Rabbi, if they ever held off the ceremony if a boy didn’t appear to be mature enough. His answer was, “Rarely. Because we don’t wait for a boy to become a man. We believe the process actually matures the boy into a man.” But, just what is this process that shapes a boy into a man? .... Read this in full at
GOD'S KINDNESS (LET IT FLOW)
by S.J. Hill
If we recognize that God's heart is filled with passion for us even in our weakness, we will be catapulted into personal wholeness and spiritual maturity.
When my two sons left home and ventured out on their own, I realized even more how much I loved them. I would think about them all the time. I would call them on the phone just to hear their voices. I would picture in my mind what they looked like. More than once I heard the Lord speak so gently to me, "If you feel this way about your sons, how do you think I feel about you?"
I was often reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:9-11: "[Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!]"
Today as I was thinking about my sons and reflecting on those experiences, I was so overcome by the love of the Father that I broke down and wept. I realized again that when we, as His children, catch a glimpse of the beauty of His heart, it will ignite such deep passions within us that we will gladly abandon ourselves to Him.
A Living Expression [by Mother Teresa, AD 1910-1997]
Be the living expression of God's kindness:
kindness in your face,
kindness in your eyes,
kindness in your smile,
kindness in your warm greeting.
Source: NIV Voices of Faith Devotional Bible: Insights from the Past and Present
AUDIOBOOKS AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES: A KEY TO WORLD EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLING NATIONS
MISSISSAUGA, ON -- According to Bill Koene, president of www.Christian-audiobooks.com , "We are currently witnessing a technological revolution in World Missions."
Koene says that in a rapidly changing world, "there is a growing recognition that a final thrust for the spread of the gospel and badly needed Christian resource materials must be done through the use of current technologies."
He added: “It is now widely understood that through the rapid spread of computer technology and hand-held devices into every nation and even into remote places, there is an urgent need to provide Christian audiobooks and audioBibles in the indigenous languages of people groups where there is a dearth of these critical resources.” .... Read this in full at
LUCADO: ‘DON’T SETTLE FOR WIMPY GRACE’
Max Lucado has appeared on every major national best-seller list, including Publishers Weekly, USA Today, The New York Times, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and Christian Booksellers Association. He’s been writing for nearly 25 years, and has sold more than 100 million products—including 80 million books. Charisma News recently sat down with Lucado to discuss his latest book, Grace. He also shares his thoughts on what is happening right now in the church and in the nation.
Charisma News: Your new book, Grace, is fascinating. I guess the cover says it all, doesn’t it? “More than we deserve, greater than we imagine.”
Lucado: This book came out of a conviction that most of us, myself included, tend to settle for a wimpy grace. For many people, it’s been a long time since grace was really amazing. I wanted to dig a little deeper into the teaching of grace. To say that you’re going to write a book on grace is like saying you’re going to put the ocean in a thimble. It’s not going to happen. I wanted to focus on what happens when grace really happens, when I really receive God’s grace. What difference does it make in my life? That’s the question that this book tries to answer.... Read this in full at
AMISH GROWTH OUTPACING MOST RELIGIONS IN USA
As a radical group of 16 Amish men and women face federal charges of committing hate crimes against others within their own religion, the faith also is getting publicity as one of the fastest-growing religions in the US.
Now with nearly 250,000 adherents here, a new Ohio State University study reports that, on average, an Amish community is established every three and a half weeks, and more than 60% of current Amish settlements in the US were founded since 1990.
The largest group of Amish community members, 60,233, live in Ohio, where a detached sect of Amish led by 66-year-old Samuel Mullet Sr. are accused of committing a series of hair-cutting attacks on other Amish last year, various news outlets have reported.... Read this in full at
by Dan Wooding
"Finish strong!" That's the goal of Norm Nelson, President of Compassion Radio, a unique evangelical radio ministry that broadcasts 1,000 program releases daily across the United States and sponsors compassion projects in 31 of the toughest countries on earth.
"It's the globally-focused projects that give Compassion Radio its uniqueness," Norm told me. "Jesus asked a very challenging question: 'Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not do the things I say.' We evangelicals are big on talk, but we often come up short on the doing. Talk is easy. Deeds are costly. That's the disparity we are seeking to address."
Norm, who turned 74 in mid-August, refuses to slow down where his activist approach to ministry is concerned. That also holds true where his commitment to learning is concerned.... Read this in full at
“When I say that people are not good, I am not adopting a Christian or a moral standpoint. I am saying that their two great characteristics, no matter what their society or education, are covetousness and the desire for power. We find these traits always and everywhere. If, then, we give people complete freedom to choose, they will inevitably seek to dominate someone or something and they will inevitably covet what belongs to others, and a strange feature of covetousness is that it can never be assuaged or satisfied, for once one thing is acquired it directs its attention to something else.”
- Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), Anarchy and Christianity, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1991, p. 20
VERSE TO PONDER
“For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
- Ephesians 5:5 (NIV)
GOD GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
by Charles C. Haynes
Millions of kids return to school this week – and, contrary to culture-war rhetoric, most of them won’t leave their faith at the schoolhouse door.
As classes get underway, public school students across America will form religious clubs, pray together in their free time, distribute religious literature to classmates, share their religious convictions in class discussions and in many other ways belie the myth of the “godless public schools.”
Many teachers, meanwhile, are gearing up to teach about religions in various history and literature classes. State standards, especially in the social studies, now require that students learn something (and, in some states, a considerable amount) about the major faith traditions.
This much religion in schools may strike some readers as surprising and new. But God hasn’t come back to public education overnight.... Read this in full at
SCHOOLS MAKE ROOM FOR RELIGION
At the beginning of every school year, Hedy Bernstein of Nashville sends her kids to school with a backpack full of school supplies.
She also sends a list of Jewish holidays so that teachers know when her children will be absent.
For an Orthodox family like Bernstein's, that list includes about a dozen days off for religious reasons.
"We don't pick and choose which holidays to observe," she said. "I have to say the schools have been great to work with."
Fifty years after the U.S. Supreme Court banned official prayers in public schools, religion remains alive and well on school campuses. That's because the same First Amendment that bars government-sponsored religion also gives students like the Bernsteins the right to freely practice their faith.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“Jesus answered, ‘Whoever loves me will keep my word. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’”
- John 14:23 (CEB)
“It's not the ship in the water but the water in the ship that sinks it. So it's not the Christian in the world but the world in the Christian that constitutes the danger.”
- John Wilbur Chapman
UNEARTHED STONE SEAL MAY DEPICT OLD TESTAMENT JUDGE SAMSON
A small stone seal unearthed in Israel is likely the first archaeological evidence of the Old Testament judge Samson, say the co-directors of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Center for Archaeological Research.
While not involved in the excavation that led to the discovery, center co-directors Daniel Warner and Dennis Cole said evidence characterizing the find makes it plausible that the seal supports a story of a young boy killing a lion with his bare hands.... Read this in full at
THE PRIVILEGE AND PRICE OF BEING A SERVANT
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." - Mark 8:34
When Jesus spoke to his own about the demands of discipleship, the words were strong and foreboding. "Deny ... take up [your] cross ... follow." Those are the words of Jesus. "Pamper yourself ... indulge ... grab the gusto." Those are the words of the world.
Augustine reminds all Christians that servanthood involves both a privilege and a price. It is good to follow Christ. But we must see by what way we are to follow. For when the Lord spoke the words of Mark 8, he had not already risen from the dead. He had not yet suffered, not yet come to the cross, not yet felt the dishonoring, the outrages, the scourging, the thorns, the wounds, the mockeries, the insults, the death.
Rough may be the way, but follow on. Where Christ has gone is worn smooth. Who would not wish to be exalted? Honor is pleasing to all. But humility is the path to it.
The two disciples disliked taking this step of humility. They sought exaltation, one at the right hand and the other at the left [see Mark 10:37]. They did not see the cross.
Christ's invitation to discipleship is an invitation to die. Die to self. To the world. To personal ambition. It is a call to follow Jesus in his life. In his death. In his resurrection. It is a reminder that exaltation and elevation in God's sight are the by-products of humility.
Small wonder there is so seldom a crowd gathered at the cross. For few are willing to pay the price that discipleship demands. But it's a price well worth paying, for a life of discipleship is the most fulfilling life of all. Will you pay the price?
Source: Once-A-Day Walk with Jesus Devotional
A farmer was milking his cow. He was just starting to get a good rhythm going when a bug flew into the barn and started circling his head. Suddenly, the bug flew into the cow's ear. The farmer didn't think much about it, until the bug squirted out into his bucket. It went in one ear and out the udder.
PROF WHO DID GAY PARENTING STUDY IS VINDICATED
The University of Texas at Austin has cleared sociology professor Mark Regnerus of academic misconduct after he was excoriated by some in the media over a study showing that parents' homosexual relationships can have negative effects on children.
Regnerus made headlines in June when his study was published in the widely respected journal Social Science Research. According to his findings, children raised by homosexual parents are more likely than those raised by married heterosexual parents to suffer from poor impulse control, depression and suicidal thoughts. They also are more likely to require more mental health therapy; identify themselves as homosexual; choose cohabitation; be unfaithful to partners; contract sexually transmitted diseases; be sexually molested; have lower income levels; drink to get drunk; and smoke tobacco and marijuana.
As a result, a gay-activist blogger accused Regnerus of academic fraud, demanding in July that the university release all his research material and emails with fellow sociologists.... Read this in full at
SEX IN MOVIES INFLUENCES TEENS' BEHAVIOR, STUDY CONFIRMS
Exposure to sexual content in movies leads teenagers to have sex earlier and to participate in riskier sexual behavior, a study has confirmed, leading researchers to suggest incorporating media literacy training into sexual education.
The study, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, said roughly 85% of movies released from 1950 to 2006 contained sexual content, and only 9% of sexual content in movies contained messages promoting sexual health. Sexual explicitness of PG-13-rated and R-rated movies has increased over the past decade, researchers also said. Evidence suggests that adolescents' sexual attitudes and behavior are influenced more by movies than by other forms of media, the study said.... Read this in full at
Not where I breath,
But where I love, I live.
VERSE TO PONDER
“Teach me to do what pleases you, because you are my God. Guide me by your good spirit into good land.”
- Psalm 143:10 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: AGAIN HE’LL COME
Words & Music: William M. Runyan, 1919
From Olive’s Hill, the multitude upgazing,
Beheld, until the Savior passed from view;
But radiant heralds uttered words of promise,
He Who has gone shall come again to you.
Again, again, the nations shall behold Him!
Again, again, enrobed in majesty;
In clouds of glory every eye shall see Him,
Again, again, the King of Glory see!
Again, but not in weakness or in sorrow;
Again, but not for bitter pain and loss;
The Son of God shall come in glory splendid,
Again, but not to bear shame’s bitter cross.
O Zion, clothe thyself in raiment holy;
Lift up thine eyes to greet thy coming King;
Rejoice, rejoice, no more be robed in sorrow,
Rejoice, O Zion, lift thy voice and sing.
>from NetHymnal at
“In order to grow in grace, we must be much alone. It is not in society that the soul grows most vigorously. In one single quite hour of prayer it will often make more progress than in days of company with others. It is in the desert that the dew falls freshest and the air ifs purest.”
- Horatius Bonar
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 got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
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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