Connecting man to man to God
For week of September 23, 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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“Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad!”
- Philippians 4:4 (CEB)
“We hurt people by being too busy. Too busy to notice their needs. Too busy to drop that note of comfort or encouragement or assurance of love. Too busy to listen when someone needs to talk. Too busy to care.”
- Billy Graham
MOVEMENT DAY TO TRANSFORM CITIES THROUGH THE GOSPEL
A gospel leadership movement is coming to New York City September 27, 2012. Known as "Movement Day" (http://movementday.com), this unique program is about "Leaders Changing Cities through Gospel Movements." It connects ministry and city leaders in order to dynamically impact their city through the gospel. Movement Day seeks to gather city leaders to collaborate on best practices and models that can be replicated and adapted by leaders in major cities around the US. The vision is to see cities, and ultimately culture and the world, transformed with the gospel.
The Movement Day Congress will feature remarkable global leaders such as Richard Stearns of World Vision; Luis Palau of the Luis Palau Association; Ajith Fernando, formerly with Youth for Christ; and several others. This event promises to inspire and challenge leaders, churches and ministries to cultivate partnerships and share best practices to resolve some of the biggest issues facing cities.... Read this in full at
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH?
by Clare De Graaf
Three times in the last few weeks I’ve been asked by good Christians to help them explain to their teenage and college age children what happens after Christians and non-Christians die. I think most of us grew up hearing a Sunday School explanation and many Christians still believe that, but there’s so much more.
To each person, I sent these edited excerpts from the book, One Minute After You Die, by Dr. Erwin Lutzer, the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago. He does a wonderful job of clarifying what the Bible teaches on this important subject.... Read this in full at
IS PERSONALITY TYPE A DECIDING FACTOR FOR BOLD FAITH?
by Brett Gitzel
Many years ago, I was instructed with a group of Bible school peers to venture out into a university campus for street evangelism. As a Christian, this seemed a good thing to do. Yet as an introvert, it was a nightmare. Here I was, out on the street, expected to engage in strangers' lives — when I didn’t really like talking to people that much at all.
My highlights of these outreach efforts would include asking a busboy on his break what he thought about the weather and telling another guy that I liked his shoes. Other than that, my time was spent roaming around feeling nervous and awkward about what I had to do.
Evangelism became my greatest fear. I went over all of the angles as much as I could. Still, I could never come up with anything natural to say, as going out to talk to strangers seemed very unnatural to me.... Read this in full at
WIRED TO MAKE DISCIPLES
by Kenny Luck
The director of ministry at Every Man Ministries is Danny Wallen. Around here we call him “Yoda” because every time he opens his mouth, you feel stupid. I usually have a pencil and pad handy when he goes off in a stream-of-consciousness discourse because the dude knows how to raise up and train men. Standing in my doorway one day, he shared these pearls about how men are wired by God with an urge to reproduce.
“The most natural and positive thing for a man is to reproduce. God made us that way," he began. "Think about it. Why do you think we are consciously and subconsciously driven by our sexual impulses? We seek to connect, reproduce, procreate and multiply!
"The problem is that men don't translate their natural drive to reproduce into a spiritual reproduction because sin and fear have conflicted and polluted our desires. Sexual success, material success and professional success have replaced relational success and multiplication. For most men, momentary attachments define us instead of our generational impact.” .... Read this in full at
ASKING FOR THE GRACE TO SERVE
It was your joy to serve.
Thank you for your service.
Show me where you want me to serve,
give me the ability to serve,
let me serve.
And make my heart pure toward everyone.
It was your joy to sacrifice.
Thank you for your sacrifice.
Show me what you want me to sacrifice,
give me the ability to sacrifice,
let me sacrifice.
And make my heart pure toward everyone.
It was your joy to suffer.
Thank you for your suffering.
Show me how you want me to suffer,
give me the ability to suffer,
let me suffer.
And make my heart pure toward everyone.
(Source: Common Prayer Pocket Edition: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
EVANGELICALISM’S CRUCIFIX PROBLEM
by Scot McKnight
No event in the life of Jesus, no event in the plan of God, no event in the saving work of Christ, no doctrine, no belief, no line in the creed has been more eclipsed than the resurrection. In fact, it can be said that however much Protestantism protested Catholic theology from the Reformation on, much of Protestantism, especially some forms of evangelicalism, might as well have a crucifix behind the pulpit.
But the Stone Table cracked, and without the cracked table there is no gospel.
This is why Ross Clifford and Philip Johnson, in their outstanding book The Cross is Not Enough, call the resurrection — not the cross — the lynchpin of the Christian faith. Justification is a resurrection doctrine.... Read this in full at
VIDEO: BEN WITHERINGTON III
The nationally-known New Testament Professor Ben Witherinton III answers such questions as “How do we know that Jesus really existed?” and “Can we really trust the Bible?” .... See this interview in full at
AMERICANS UNDERESTIMATE NUMBER OF PROTESTANTS BY MORE THAN 50%
The typical American underestimates how many Protestants there are in the USA, and vastly overestimates the number of religious minorities such as Mormons, Muslims, and atheist/agnostics, according to a new study.
Grey Matter Research and Consulting asked 747 US adults to guess what proportion of the American population belongs to each of eight major religious groups: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, atheist/agnostic, believe in God or a higher power but have no particular religious preference, and any other religious group.
The average response was that 24% of Americans are Catholic, 20% are Protestant, 19% are unaffiliated, 8% are Jewish, 9% are atheist or agnostic, 7% are Muslim, 7% are Mormon, and 5% identify with all other religious groups.... Read this in full at
WHO I AM
I am not what I ought to be,
I am not what I wish to be,
I am not what I hope to be;
but, by the grace of God,
I am not what I was.
- John Newton
ONE NATION UNDER GOD
by Eric Metaxas
Most US students begin their day at school by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. But how many know what it really means — especially the phrase “one nation under God”?
Many Christians rightly feel that public schools turn a cold shoulder toward anything related to America’s Christian heritage. Yet they overlook the daily recognition in our schools of one of the most remarkable expressions of American thinking — that our unalienable rights come from God and not the government.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?”
He reflected this idea in the Declaration of Independence when he wrote:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” .... Read this in full at
TOO EASILY PLEASED
“Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
- C. S. Lewis
JOHN ORTBERG LOOKS AT JESUS' UNPARALLELED IMPACT ON HUMAN HISTORY
“On the day after Jesus' death, it looked as if whatever small mark he left on the world would rapidly disappear," writes John Ortberg in his new book, Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (Zondervan). "Instead, his impact on human history has been unparalleled." Ortberg, the California megachurch pastor and bestselling author, spoke with Joe Carter, an editor for the Gospel Coalition, about how Jesus changed the perception of everything from art and architecture to children and human dignity.
Q: How does this book differ from other books on Jesus?
A: Who Is This Man? is about the impact of Jesus on human history. Most people — including most Christians — simply have no idea of the extent to which we live in a Jesus-impacted world. From the existence of hospitals to the notion of universal human dignity and rights to the prizing of virtues like humility and forgiveness, our lives are simply unimaginable apart from his life.... Read this in full at
LOOKING FOR A FEW DIFFICULT MEN AND WOMEN
“Some people tempt me out of the flow of the Spirit. They judge me, and I feel discouraged. They dislike me, and I feel rejected. They are a black hole of need and drain me. They throw roadblocks in my path and discourage me. They anger me. They scare me. They depress me. Plus I don't like them.
“We all have difficult people in our life, but hear this: God can use them to help you become the best version of you - maybe even more than the people you like. Jesus said, ‘[You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven... If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?’ Matthew 5:43-48]
“Other people don't create your spirit; they reveal your spirit. In fact, if God wants to grow some quality in you, he may send you a person who tempts you to behave in just the opposite way. If you need to develop love, then some unlovable people will be your greatest challenge. If you need to develop hope, maintaining it in the face of discouragers will make it strong. If you want to grow in your ability to confront, a hard-to-confront intimidator will give you serious practice. As lifting weights strengthens a muscle and cardio exercises strengthen a heart, difficult people can strengthen our ability to love.
“No one mastered the art of dealing with difficult people better than Jesus did. He had lots of practice. The Romans wanted to silence him; Herod wanted to kill him; Pilate washed his hands of him; religious leaders envied him; his family thought he had lost his mind; his townspeople wanted to stone him; Judas betrayed him; soldiers beat him; the crowds shouted for his crucifixion; and his own disciples ran out on him. Yet Jesus never prayed for God to remove difficult people from his life. If he had, there would have been no people left at all.
“Where in your life is there a relationship that needs reconciliation? Maybe you have been so badly hurt by somebody who lied or cheated or betrayed you, and that hurt goes so deep, that you are thinking right now, He doesn't deserve it! Probably not... Neither do I. Neither do you. Do it anyway.”
- John Ortberg in The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God's Best Version of You, by
VERSE TO PONDER
“Imitate God like dearly loved children.”
- Ephesians 5:1 (CEB)
“Lord, give me an open heart to find You everywhere, to glimpse the heaven enfolded in a bud, and to experience eternity in the smallest act of love.”
- Mother Teresa
DO WE CHRISTIANS EVEN UNDERSTAND WHAT ‘AUTHENTICITY’ MEANS?
by Megan Hill
Chances are you know someone who’s blogging or talking about being authentic: authentic life, authentic relationships, authentic community, authentic worship.
Authentic is one of those slippery, know-it-when-you-see-it buzzwords. Authenticity is transparency and admission of failure. It’s the rejection of pretense and hypocrisy. It’s truth-telling about all areas of life.
I believe Christians can do authenticity best. We serve a God who is always truthful. Never lies. Never deceives. Has, in fact, defeated the Father of Lies. But I fear that without biblical thought, we may accept an inferior and postmodern version of tell-all, tolerate-all authenticity. So, I propose 5 principles for being an authentic Christian:
(1) Authenticity proclaims the reality of the Bible.
(2) Authenticity doesn’t excuse sin.
(3) Authenticity seeks the good of the Body.
(4) Authenticity honors wisdom.
(5) Authenticity points ahead to a perfected future.
.... Read this in full at
FROM ABUSE TO FAITH TO CHANGING THE WORLD; 'UNDAUNTED-THE EARLY LIFE OF JOSH MCDOWELL'
by Dan Wooding
Millions of people know Josh McDowell as a leading apologist for the Christian faith, a presence for decades on college campuses, a humanitarian and the author of more than 138 books including New Evidence That Demands a Verdict and More Than a Carpenter.
But, according to news release, far fewer people know Josh McDowell as the child of an alcoholic father and a physically challenged mother; a boy who suffered years of sexual abuse by a man who worked on the family farm.
Welcome to Undaunted-The Early Life Of Josh McDowell. With this award-winning, "pull no punches" docudrama, McDowell takes viewers into the terrible circumstances of his boyhood, ultimately lifting them up with the inspiring, true story of how he came to faith and learned to forgive his tormenters.... Read this in full at
IT TAKES JUST A LITTLE...
It takes so little to make us sad,
Just a slighting word or a doubting sneer,
Just a scornful smile on some lips held dear;
And our footsteps lag, though the goal seemed near,
And we lose the courage and hope we had-
So little it takes to make us sad.
It takes so little to make us glad,
Just a cheering clasp of a friendly hand,
Just a word from one who can understand;
And we finish the task we long had planned,
And we lose the doubt and the fear we had-
So little it takes to make us glad.
- Ida Goldsmith Morris
MY JOURNEY TOWARD THE “NEW EVANGELICALISM”
by Richard Cizik
If you’ve never changed your mind about something, you may be dead. Spiritually, intellectually, and even politically, if new facts and realities don’t ever prompt you to alter your way of thinking, you might as well be dead. To not learn and change, especially spiritually, is a form of death.
But change is hard. It’s also risky.
I know about the consequences of changing one’s thinking. I was fired from my position as vice-president for governmental relations at the National Association of Evangelicals. That’s right, I was asked to resign for comments made on a nationally syndicated radio show called “Fresh Air.” I provided too much “fresh air” for my bosses to handle. Officially, I was asked to resign. But the reality is that I was fired.
This event devastated me and my family. We were shocked that such a drastic action had been taken. “Please have your office cleared out within a few days”—these were my instructions. That wasn’t an easy thing to do. I had worked for the Association since 1980, and this was 2008. So, for twenty-eight years I had faithfully represented the organization, the last ten as vice president. I loved it and the people I had worked with.... Read this in full at
HOW THE LORD'S PRAYER SAVED A 9/11 SURVIVOR
For John Mahony, a retired US Army colonel who was managing projects for the Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance organization, instinct came before analysis as he fought to stay on his feet the morning of 11 September 2001.
"The building jerked hard, throwing everyone off balance," remembers Mahony in the account he has written of surviving the 9/11 attacks, reports Religion News Service via the Huntsville (Alabama) Times.
Mahony was working on the 19th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York that morning. "My support was gone, and I had to catch my balance to remain on my feet."
He had lived in California. "Earthquake," he thought, even as his military training diagnosed "bomb." Mahony directed his co-workers to a stairway, checked the area for anyone else, and headed down through what was quickly a haze of smoke and dust.... Read this in full at
CATHEDRAL SERVICE PAYS TRIBUTE TO 'WORLD ICON' NEIL ARMSTRONG
The United States honored "the first human being to walk on another world" at Washington National Cathedral in the US capital on 13 September with a combination of Scripture, tributes, traditional hymns, and the song “Fly Me To The Moon.”
Neil Armstrong, 82, commander of the Apollo 11 mission, died 15 August of complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures. He had undergone heart bypass surgery earlier in August in Cincinnati, Ohio, near where he lived. A Navy pilot, he was buried at sea on 14 September.
The cathedral was filled with people who heard Armstrong described during the service as a humble man who never sought the limelight, even after having made history by being the first person to set foot on the moon. On 20 July 1969, Armstrong and co-pilot Col. Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. put their lunar landing craft, Eagle, down a rocky stretch of land near the southwestern shore of the moon's Sea of Tranquility.
The first Scripture reading during the service was Exodus 3:1-15 in which Moses is forever changed by his encounter with God in the burning bush. Diocese of Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde said during her homily that most people assumed that Armstrong's burning-bush moment were the two-and-a-half hours he spent on the moon.... Read this in full at
See the video of the service at
WHY MEN FAIL
by David Brooks
You’re probably aware of the basic trends. The financial rewards to education have increased over the past few decades, but men failed to get the memo.
In elementary and high school, male academic performance is lagging. Boys earn three-quarters of the Ds and Fs. By college, men are clearly behind. Only 40% of bachelor’s degrees go to men, along with 40% of master’s degrees....
To succeed today, you have to be able to sit still and focus attention in school at an early age. You have to be emotionally sensitive and aware of context. You have to communicate smoothly. For genetic and cultural reasons, many men stink at these tasks.
But, in her fascinating new book, “The End of Men,” Hanna Rosin posits a different theory. It has to do with adaptability. Women, Rosin argues, are like immigrants who have moved to a new country. They see a new social context, and they flexibly adapt to new circumstances. Men are like immigrants who have physically moved to a new country but who have kept their minds in the old one. They speak the old language. They follow the old mores. Men are more likely to be rigid; women are more fluid.... Read this in full at
“There is no use in talking as if forgiveness were easy. For we find that the work of forgiveness has to be done over and over again.”
- C. S. Lewis
VERSE TO PONDER
“Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.”
- Philippians 2:3-4 (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
“Prayer is the highest use to which speech can be put.”
- P. T. Forsyth (1848-1921), The Soul of Prayer , Regent College Publishing, 2002, p. 18
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'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can't put it down.
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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