Connecting man to man to God
For week of October 14, 2012
Issue 429

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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Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and tensions disappear when gossip stops.”
- Proverbs 26:20 (The Living Bible)

God's center is everywhere. His circumference is nowhere.”
- Thomas Watson

Walter Crutchfield had his first conversion moment at age 18, when he accepted Christ as Lord. That year, the self-professed "serial entrepreneur" started his own auto production company, but sold it a year later to attend Bible college. "When I came to Christ, I still had the joy of business," says the Phoenix native. "But the world around me ... told me that if you were serious about faith, you'd get involved in ministry." And so he did, becoming a full-time pastor.

But his second conversion -- to the goodness of work outside the church -- unfolded over years of facing the fact that he was really good at turning profits in the world of business, specifically real estate.... Read this in full at

Tampa Bay, FL area Christian business leaders John Faulkner and Richard W. Hayes announced the launch and initial distribution of TwoTen Magazine ( The national Christian business resource magazine is distributed via print, Web, and iPad editions.

TwoTen is a multi-platform Christian resource that inspires, encourages, and equips business leaders to use their influence to make an eternal impact for God's Kingdom. The TwoTen brand was inspired by the New Testament Bible verse Ephesians 2:10, which says; "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." .... Read this in full at

Each one of us is God's special work of art. Through us, He teaches and inspires, delights and encourages, informs and uplifts all those who view our lives. God, the master artist, is most concerned about expressing Himself – His thoughts and His intentions – through what He paints in our character; He wants to paint a beautiful portrait of His Son in and through your life. A painting like no other in all of time.”
- Joni Eareckson Tada

by Clare De Graaf
Two decades ago a man I deeply admire asked this penetrating question of me, “Is there anyone right now praising God for you because without your advocacy for them they would be hopeless?”

My mind instantly swung into justification mode, and I began adding up the money I’d given and boards on which I’d served that assist the poor in some way. But, that wasn’t what he was asking. What he was getting at is this, “Are you personally engaged in the life of a person who is powerless or poor and had no other place to turn before you came along?” My honest answer was “yes”. I had been just such an advocate for a number of people in the past, but not presently.

Ever since that conversation, I’ve made it one of my personal goals to pray for and have my spiritual antenna up for people in need of an advocate. They’re all around me if I’ll simply open my eyes. But, even if one doesn’t cross our path, I believe we have an obligation to seek them out. I’ll share a few stories shortly just how that works in real life.

You only have to read the story of the Sheep and Goats (Matthew 25:31-46) to get a feel for how serious Jesus is about us caring for “the least of these”. If you read that story, you’ll also notice that in almost every case he instructs us to go to them, not wait for them to ask us for help.... Read this in full at

David Murrow's book, Why Men Hate Going to Church, struck a chord when it was published in 2005. Seven years later, male church attendance is still low. So David went searching for the answer. What he found is reported in Why Men Hate Going to Church: Completely Revised and Updated (Thomas Nelson). Leadership Journal interviews Murrow about reaching men and creating a church atmosphere in which they can thrive.

Q: How can churches attract men?
A: Make very simple changes, mainly in the area of décor, language, and culture. These can be very subtle. Here's a piece of low-hanging fruit: If you want a church full of men, simply bring an object into the pulpit every single week. Take your 25 minutes and build it around an object lesson, and I guarantee you in two years you will have a church full of men because men will pay attention. They'll be thinking, When is the object coming out, and what's it going to be?

Of course, I'm just ripping off Jesus. His teaching was very concrete. He says, "Show me a coin. Whose face? Whose description?" He was so visual. He's walking through a wheat field, and says, "Look, the fields are white for harvest." Or, "Go ahead, Peter. Step out of the boat. Feel the water on your feet. Feel the wind on your face." He was such a concrete teacher. So that's what I'm saying: steal from Jesus. He's more than willing to share.... Read this in full at

by Debbie Macomber
1. Give something away - no strings attached.
2. Do a kindness - and forget it.
3. Spend a few minutes with the aged - their experience is priceless guidance.
4. Look intently into the face of a baby - and marvel.
5. Laugh often - it's life's lubricant.
6. Give thanks - a thousand times a day is not enough.
7. Pray - or you will lose the way.
8. Plan as though you'll live forever - because you will.
10. Live as though you'll die tomorrow - because you will, on some tomorrow.

The fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all, according to a Pew survey showing that one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.

The number of these Americans has grown by 25% just in the past five years, according to a survey released Oct. 4 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The survey finds that the ranks of the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans. Thirty-three million Americans now have no religious affiliation, with 13 million in that group identifying as either atheist or agnostic, according to the new survey.... Read this in full at

by Cathy Lynn Grossman
For decades, if not centuries, America's top religious brand has been "Protestant." No more.

In the 1960s, two in three Americans called themselves Protestant. Now the Protestant group -- both evangelical and mainline -- has slid below the statistical waters, down to 48%, from 53% in 2007.

Where did they go? Nowhere, actually. They didn't switch to a new religious brand, they just let go of any faith affiliation or label.... Read this in full at

by Russell D. Moore
Several years ago, I pointed out here that studies were showing a declining Protestant majority, and projections were being made for this very reality. Now, the surveys says we have a 48 percent plurality of Protestants. I wasn’t frantic about that several years ago, and I’m still not.

When working toward our “God and country” badges, my childhood Boy Scout troop was shuttled over to the neighborhood United Methodist church for sessions with the pastor about being good Christians and good citizens. I remember my Southern Baptist sensibilities being shocked when the pastor said, in response to a question, that he didn’t believe in angels or demons. The reigning cultural presence of mainline Protestantism served the same purpose as the “God and country” badge. Give us enough Christianity to fight the communists and save the Republic, they said, but let’s remember not to take it all too seriously. That culture is over.

Frankly, we should be more concerned about the loss of a Christian majority in the Protestant churches than about the loss of a Protestant majority in the United States.... Read this in full at

by Rob Horsley
More Bible knowledge means more faith—right?

Not always, it turns out. In fact, many students leave their Bible college communities feeling challenged, or even dissatisfied after a deeper academic study of the biblical text. An odd thought, considering that most attend Bible colleges expecting to become stronger Christians.

Though Brady Enslen felt frustrated at times during his years at Capernwray Harbour in B.C. and Providence University College in Manitoba, he now looks back with more appreciative eyes.

"I could have done way more to enhance my experience as well, [because] there was more potential to have deeper relationships with people, talk to the professors more one-on-one, push myself more academically, go out of my comfort zone more with people in dorm to build better community," says Enslen. "Those things were all there…but I don't think I utilized [them] as much as I could have.” .... Read this in full at

by Bill Ellis
The pastor’s study is the one place in every city, county, state and nation that should be saturated with prayer – humble, believing and active prayer. That is the control center of the entire operation.

I have had the privilege of being in the pastor’s study in hundreds of churches, some among the world’s largest churches and the most prominent preachers. The pastor of the largest church east of the Mississippi River had for his working study a four-room house across the driveway from his residence. Those large rooms were filled with books. Dr. R. G. Lee had an inner study, no windows, where he did his most concentrated work on preaching.

In the large Bellevue Baptist Church, in Memphis, TN where he pastored for 32 years, he had a beautiful and well-appointed office. When I was in it with him one day, he told me that particular office was used for interviews, counseling and meetings for church business. His office for study, writing, and sermon preparation was located beside his residence on Peach Street....

I do not know of any calling or profession that demands more of a man or woman than the one to be a pastor. October is “Pastors Appreciation Month.” Do all you can to assist your pastor with the work of ministry... Read this in full at

by Greg Stier
One day a lady criticized D. L. Moody for his methods of evangelism in attempting to win people to the Lord. Moody's reply was "I agree with you. I don't like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?" The lady replied, "I don't do it." Moody retorted, "Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it."

A lame method is better than no method at all when explaining the gospel. Why? Because even a clunky or cheesy method that clearly explains the gospel is better than keeping your mouth shut! The gospel is "the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" according to Romans 1:16. So when someone unleashes the explosive force of this message it has impact. Whether its through a cube, a book, a tract, a story, a Gospel of John, or a video, the gospel message has power and effect.... Read this in full at

The soul of man, when it is healthy, is athirst for God; and God only, through Christ, can slake the soul's thirst. Longing for God, for the eternally good and true and lovely, is natural to man; it is man's most divine endowment. The thirst, as well as the living water, is a gift of God. As Christ is both Priest and Victim, so He gives both the thirst and the life-giving draught... This is what Christ always assumed in His teaching. Man wants to find his way to God. That is why we come to Church; that is why we pray. And our Saviour cries to us with a loud voice, as He did on the great day of the feast, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink."
- William R. Inge (1860-1954), Personal Religion and the Life of Devotion, London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1924, p. 37

Begins Oct. 24

The United States must ration health care for the elderly through the use of "death panels," a former Obama administration adviser is saying, but other experts disagree.

Steven Rattner's "cavalier attitude about 'death panels' is simply breathtaking," C. Ben Mitchell, professor of moral philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., said after a New York Times opinion piece by Rattner in mid-September.

"What he [Rattner] and the Obama administration don't grasp is that Americans will not tolerate a rationing system like Canada's or the UK's -- they are not going to wait three years for surgery or abandon their loved ones at 70 years old." Mitchell told Baptist Press. "If the sleeping giant is roused, the gut-wrenching decisions Americans will make will be in the voting booth." .... Read this in full at

by Eric Metaxas
In the second century, the Roman physician Galen named a common ailment whose symptoms included a burning sensation in the urinary tract and (forgive me) the release of pus. He combined the Greek word for “seed,” gonos, and “flow,” rhoia.

That’s how the word “gonorrhea” entered the Western lexicon. And now you know.

For 18 centuries, the disease was a constant reminder of the dangers of promiscuity. The 18th-century British writer James Boswell, Samuel Johnson’s biographer, called it a “memorandum of vice” before dying himself from what are believed to be complications of the illness. At the turn of the 20th century, the New York City medical examiner estimated that 80% of the men in the city had contracted the illness at least once in their lives.

But then came antibiotics, and we thought we could put Boswell’s memorandum in our ‘deleted’ file.

But not so fast. A recent article in the New Yorker magazine describes a new strain of gonorrhea that is resistant to the only class of drugs that can “reliably treat” the disease.... Read this in full at

The summer sun beats down on camouflaged Kevlar helmets. Weighed down by heavy body armor, men and women of the cloth are crawling through sand, under barbed wire and learning how to run with soldiers. Explosions in woods simulate the battlefield as an instructor barks commands. "You are not following simple instructions! Cover me while I move! Got you covered! Let's go!"

This is the US Army Chaplain Center and School at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where the Army trains clergy of all faiths how to survive in combat.

Once many of these chaplains complete this modified basic training they will head to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the explosions and gunfire are not simulated.... Read this in full at

Cross-cultural ministry no longer requires a passport, according to the latest issue of "Unfinished," the award-winning quarterly magazine of The Mission Society. With the United States identified as one of the fastest-growing mission fields in the world, outreach opportunities abound for American Christians and churches willing to embrace new thinking.

"Acts 1:8 calls us to take the gospel to the ends of the earth while not neglecting 'Jerusalem,' our mission field at home," said Dick McClain, president and CEO of The Mission Society. "Whether you live in Louisville, Kentucky, or Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it is incumbent on Christian disciples to identify and then reach out to those who have had the least exposure to the gospel. The least-reached people may very well be your neighbor."

The Mission Society, a full-spectrum missions sending organization, has a special emphasis on reaching the world's least reached.... Read this in full at

Listen to advice and accept instruction, so you might grow wise in the future. Many plans are in a person’s mind, but the LORD’s purpose will succeed.”
- Proverbs 19:20-21 (CEB)

A God you understood would be less than yourself.”
- Flannery O'Connor

Charles Higgs is all too familiar with the smirks and jokes generated when talk turns to cowboy churches. Images of worship in rodeo arenas, preachers on horseback and baptisms in cattle troughs also elicit criticism – especially so when cowboy churches first appeared in the late 1970s.

And there was also a lot of doubt, said Higgs, director of the Western Heritage Ministry of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. “A lot of people said it’s a fad, that it’s not going to last,” he said.

Today, detractors focus more on the social implications, saying building churches around country music, cowboy hats and worship in barns and arenas may exclude more people than it attracts. Yet others say the cowboy church has evolved into a Bible-teaching, church-planting movement with missional qualities. But no one doubts cowboy churches have shed their fad status.

When it first started, people thought it would have a short shelf life,” said Jeff Smith, a missionary with the Cowboy Church Network of North America. “Now we know cowboy churches are here to stay.” .... Read this in full at

In arriving at a decision in a question of doubt, the apostles in the Acts were guided solely by their sense of the Spirit behind the action, not by any speculations as to consequences which might ensue.

And so they found the truth. Gradually the results of the action manifested themselves, and, seeing them, they perceived what they had really done, and learnt the meaning of the truth revealed in the action. But if, from fear of the consequences, they had checked or forbidden the action, they would have lost this revelation. They would have missed the way to truth.”
- Roland Allen (1869-1947), Pentecost and the World, London: Oxford University Press, 1917, included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 50

     FAITHVILLAGE LAUNCHES WITH 50 SHADES OF EVANGELICALISM ( throws open its virtual doors Oct. 8 inviting an increasingly diverse community of evangelical Christians into a unique social media site for individuals, churches and related organizations. FaithVillage will be the premiere online home for the Christian community with its relevant, vetted content; resources for spiritual development; trustworthy products; and plenty of room to connect online in public or private groups.

"Quite simply, there is no other web address for Christians like," said Brad Russell, senior editor and COO. "The driving vision is to provide a vibrant online community that expands personal faith, fosters robust sharing of the best ministry resources and deepens collaboration among Christian causes."

Evangelical Christians comprise the largest group of people who claim a religious affiliation in the United States--about 26 percent of U.S. adults, according to the Pew Forum. But many people -- often including the media -- see evangelicals as a monolithic bloc of like-minded individuals sharing opinions on politics, science and world affairs. The truth is, as editor Jonathan Fitzgerald has said, "It's more like there are shades of evangelicalism." .... Read this in full at

Anthony Gill, Research on Religion
Prof. Kevin Cooney of Northwest University talks on this podcast about the interesting religious landscape in Japan. Having lived there for five years as a Christian, Kevin offers some unique insights on Shintoism, Buddhism, and Christianity. He begins with a general survey of what Japan would look like spiritually to a person who just stepped off an airplane in Tokyo today. This leads to a bit of a discussion on Shintoism and Buddhism.

However, he then talks about living as a practicing Christian in Japan where only 1% of the population identifies as such. This sets off a discussion about the “secret history” of Christianity that dates back to the “Church of the East” (sometimes referred to as the Nestorian Church). This history pre-dates the arrival of the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier who arrived on the shores of Japan in the early 1549. He then maps out what happened to Christianity in the subsequent centuries, particularly when Christians were forced underground in the midst of religious persecution.... Listen to this podcast in full at

by Rick Marschall
Old and new. Up or down. Happy or sad. Passive or aggressive. Fast or slow. Liberal or conservative. Hot or cold. Yin and yang. Life is a story of extremes, and our choices between them. Can’t everything, basically, be understood through such a view?

Black or white? Right or wrong? … Good and evil? Not all things that seem like opposites ends of the spectrum are even on the same spectrum.

Aristotle thought so, that there were the extremes of thesis and antithesis, and the truth, or best formula for living, lay in the center: the “Golden Mean.” His friend Plato disagreed, sensing that there were abstract principles of right, and justice, and truth; and that humans should strive toward that truth, ennobling themselves by the quest for truth, and the fidelity to certain standards. Even before Christ, Platonists recognized Abstract Truth. Aristotelians claimed Relative Truth. The early church fathers were neo-Platonists.... Read this in full at

by Dan Wooding, founder of ASSIST Ministries
Dan Lothian is White House correspondent for CNN, reporting on the activities of President Obama and the administration. He was named to this position in December 2008. Before joining the team in CNN’s Washington bureau, Lothian served as CNN’s Boston bureau chief and correspondent. In addition to reporting, Lothian was responsible for coordinating all news and coverage from the greater-Boston area.

Since joining CNN in June 2003, Lothian has covered key stories for the network, and his career has also taken him across the map to report on natural disasters and tell the stories of the victims of hurricanes Dennis, Gustav, Katrina and Rita. His reports contributed to the network’s award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina.... Read this in full at

If you want to know how University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus's summer has gone, look no further than The Weekly Standard. On the cover of the conservative magazine's July 30 issue are two hooded henchmen impishly turning the gears on a medieval torture wheel holding Regnerus, sweating beads as he tries to stay in one piece. The cover copy—"Revenge of the Sociologists: The perils of politically incorrect academic research"—hints at the situation sparked by the publication of Regnerus's newest research as well as the broader political discourse over same-sex marriage.

The survey, known as the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), is remarkable in its scope. It's a random national sample, considered "the gold standard" of social science surveys. NFSS measures the economic, relational, political, and psychological effects on adults ages 18 to 39 who grew up in families where the father or mother engaged in homosexual behavior. Despite Regnerus's repeated caution that the NFSS does not account for stable same-sex marriages (since same-sex marriage as such didn't exist when the survey participants were children), he has undergone professional censure. Social Science Research conducted an internal audit on the peer-review process of the NFSS, and the University of Texas at Austin investigated Regnerus following allegations of "scientific misconduct." (The school has since cleared Regnerus of the allegations.)

Regnerus agreed to an email interview with Christianity Today associate editor Katelyn Beaty to set the record straight on the NFSS and its many discontents.... Read this in full at

by Timothy Dalrymple
Jonathan Walton is the new Pusey Minister at Harvard’s Memorial Church, and the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences....

Recently he delivered the “Freshman Sunday” sermon, his inaugural sermon, and the Harvard Gazette reports on his articulation of the Epistle of James: “...Belief is revealed by action, Walter said. “It does not matter if Christianity is true, but rather can we, as those informed by the teachings of Jesus, make it true. Hence at the end of the day, our faith is not something to be professed, as talk is cheap, but something primarily to be done.”

If I were not a man of conscience, I would take the soundbite — “It does not matter if Christianity is true” — and exploit it to make all the usual points about Harvard’s abandonment of its ancient and original Christian commitments and its obeisance to postmodern relativities. After all, Veritas – the Latin for “truth” — is emblazoned on Harvard’s shield of arms. The official motto, adopted in 1692 (84 years prior to the Declaration of Independence) is even more ironic: Veritas, Christo et ecclesiae – truth, for Christ and the church. Yet here is Harvard’s minister declaring in the heart of Harvard Yard that the truth of Christianity is insignificant.... Read this in full at

Dr. Eben Alexander has taught at Harvard Medical School and other universities. He’s spent his life dismissing claims of heavenly out-of-body experiences and refuting such talk with scientific logic, until he himself had a near-death experience.... See this video at

Read Dr. Alexander’s personal account at

by Mark Ellis
Don Reznicek felt compelled to take a hike on September 22, the autumnal equinox which marks the first day of fall. His inquisitive spiritual nature attaches significance to such dates, when he feels the “veil” between heaven and earth is at its thinnest.

Don’s three-hour hike on September 22 took him to an area surrounded by nature preserves, at the edge of San Rafael. “I was two hours into my hike and I was getting a little tired,” he recounts. “I stood up and had a flash of inspiration: Why don’t you direct your iPhone up toward the sun and take a picture.” .... Read this in full at

The annual number of reported deaths by euthanasia in the Netherlands rose by 18% to 3,695 in 2011 -- a number that has doubled since 2006, Baptist Press reports. According to a Sept. 25 report, sizeable increases were also reported in the euthanasia of people in early stages of dementia and those with psychiatric problems; reported euthanasia deaths for dementia patients doubled to 49 and increased for psychiatric patients from two to 13. However, according to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), the statistics fall short of the reality in the Netherlands -- a July study by the journal The Lancet showed 23% of euthanasia deaths went unreported in 2010. Therefore, the actual number of euthanasia deaths in 2011 was "more likely" 4,544, the EPC said. Combined with its estimate of 226 deaths by assisted suicide, which is a separate category, the Netherlands likely had a total of 4,770 assisted deaths last year, according to the EPC.

Christianity is a kind of love affair with our loving Lord and Savior, and the more days we turn into spiritual Valentine's Days...the richer and more joyful the relationship itself will become.”
- J. I. Packer

Only in God do I find rest; my salvation comes from him.”
- Psalm 62:1 (CEB)

Words: Isaac Watts, 1707; Ralph E. Hudson wrote the refrain in 1885
Music: Hugh Wilson, 1800

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
[originally, For such a worm as I?]

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
Tis all that I can do.

>from NetHymnal at

Listen to Friday night's Path Of Life fellowship gathering online broadcast on Blogtalk radio here:

May the fiery and sweet strength of Thy love, I pray Thee, O my Lord, absorb my soul, and make all things under heaven as nothing unto me, that for the love of Thy love I may die, as Thou didst deign to die for love of mine. Amen.”
- St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), The Writings of Saint Francis of Assisi, Paschal Robinson, tr., Dolphin Press, 1906, p. 144


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!

Marital harmony
Family unity
Children saved
Faithful pastor
Spirit-filled church
Real friendships
Relatives redeemed
Educational benefits
Recreational time
Fulfilling career
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will

Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Estates & inheritances
Investment increase
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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Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why. 

Dr. Erwin Lutzer on How to Respond to an Atheist

I Am Second

New Testament Gateway

All links to websites are provided as a service, and do not imply endorsement by this ministry. 

(BTW: whenever the URLs in this newsletter are too long to turn into links on your e-mail program, just copy the entire URL (two lines or more) and paste it into a temporary email message. Then delete the return in the middle of it and copy it again. Then paste it into your web browser and hit enter.) 

To keep a true perspective of one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that ignores him.
Frank Coleman, Editor

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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, if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program. 
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