Connecting man to man to God
For week of October 21, 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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“Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.”
- Psalm 100:2 (NLT)
“Every experience God gives us, every person he puts in our lives, is the perfect preparation for the future that only he can see.”
- Corrie Ten Boom
CT EXCLUSIVE: DINESH D'SOUZA DENIES INFIDELITY
In an exclusive CT interview, Dinesh D'Souza denied allegations published in World magazine that he has been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a younger woman while still legally married to his wife.
D'Souza, the president of The King's College (TKC), told CT that World's article "has every sign of being a vendetta."
World vice president Warren Cole Smith reported that D'Souza appeared publicly at a South Carolina conference in late September with Denise Odie Joseph II and "introduced her to at least three people as his fiancée." .... Read this in full at
CHRISTIANS OUGHT TO BE IN THE SALVATION BUSINESS
by Clare De Graaf
I was having a discussion at dinner a few weeks ago with a group of young Christian leaders who were a bit shocked to hear me say, “Every Christian ought to be in the salvation business.”
Several of the men immediately questioned what I meant by the word salvation. They thought I couldn’t possibly believe that I, or anyone but Jesus could “save” anyone from their sins. So, they were really taken back when I responded that “yes” we Christians can actually save people from their sins!
Before you write me off as a heretic, let’s be clear. No one but Jesus, by his death and resurrection, and by the power of the Holy Spirit can forgive anyone from their sins, causing them to be born again and a child of God, and thus save them. Jesus has a lock on that part of the salvation business. Period. However, there are a lot of other ways we can save people from their sins.... Read this in full at
IS THERE REALLY A RELIGION OF NONE?
by Sarah Abbey
Recently the Internet was abuzz with the latest Pew Forum poll that showed 1 in 5 Americans now claim no religious affiliation. The document’s official title, “‘Nones’ on the Rise,” begins with the following statement: “The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the US public — and a third of adults under 30 — are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.”
It is staggering to think that one in three of my generation considers themselves as having no religion. But what staggers me even more is that of those one in three, 88% say they are not looking for a religion.
The critical question is: What do we stand for? According to the current statistics many of us are not really sure — and we’re not even sure we care to find out. But is this really true? Can anyone be truly neutral and undecided on a religious stance? .... Read this in full at
WHY WE'RE LEAVING CHURCH: A REPORT FROM THE NONES
by Brian D. McLaren
The same day news outlets around the country carried a notable headline -- "Protestants Lose Majority Status in US" -- I was in a jam-packed church, speaking about my new book on Christian identity in a multi-faith world. The article explored recent Pew research about the rise of the "Nones", religiously unaffiliated Millennials, and the corresponding decline in both Mainline and Evangelical Protestant church affiliation.
After my lecture, several young Christian adults talked with me about how the headline resonates with one of the book's main ideas -- that Christianity has carried on a long affair with empire and colonialism, and as a result, has picked up the imperial auto-immune disease of "hostility to the other." .... Read this in full at
STEPS TO OVERCOMING DISAPPOINTMENT
by Christine Caine, author of Undaunted: Daring to Do What God Calls You to Do
God knows when we need nurture and healing, refreshment and sustenance, and he gives us that. In fact, for our journey, he gives us five important tools to sustain us and to help us provide sustenance to others.
1. Seek comfort in the church
When you’re hurting, going home is the best thing to do, and church is the believer’s spiritual home.
The first Sunday after Nick and I lost our baby, taking that pain and disappointment to church seemed so counter-intuitive. I knew that we would be surrounded by well-intentioned church friends asking, “How’s the pregnancy going? How is the baby?” I dreaded having to answer those questions. But we knew that we needed to go to the House of God.
What I remember most about that Sunday is not how awful it was to answer people’s questions about the baby and have to tell the news one more time, and again, and again, but rather how incredibly loving and warm our church family was to us. I had no idea how much I needed a loving community to share my burden. But God did. And as our church gathered ’round Nick and me in our grief, we were able to lift our eyes off our circumstances and see God’s loving kindness.... Read this in full at
'EVANGELICAL' IS THE MOST ABUSED TERM IN RELIGIOUS LEXICON, SAYS MINISTRY LEADER
The term "evangelical" is likely the most abused term in the entire religious lexicon, says one Christian leader.
Phil Johnson, executive director of Grace to You, which is led by Pastor John MacArthur, believes "evangelical" has been so abused that he wonders whether its original meaning can ever be recovered.
"These days it's been redefined in sociological terms, political terms; everybody seems to have their own concept of what it means," he said on the "Janet Mefferd Show." .... Read this in full at
THE CHRISTIAN HOPE
“The Christian hope is the hope which has seen everything and endured everything, and still has not despaired, because it believes in God. The Christian hope is not hope in the human spirit, in human goodness, in human endurance, in human achievement; the Christian hope is hope in the power of God.”
- William Barclay (1907-1978), Letter to the Romans, Westminster Press, 1957, p. 215
VATICAN OPENS NEW EXHIBIT OF PAPAL CARS
When an American archbishop offered the Vatican a car as a gift in 1909, Pope Pius X refused, saying he preferred to ride in a comfortable and much quieter horse-drawn carriage.
A century later, a new exhibition at the Vatican Museums shows just how far papal transportation has come since then.
A new permanent exhibition showcasing two centuries of papal travel was unveiled at the museums Oct. 16.... Read this in full at
CLERGY BURNOUT: WHO SHEPHERDS THE SHEPHERDS?
Too much work and too little pay, too much stress and too little pray. Many religious leaders today find themselves overwhelmed by their jobs, and can succumb to the very ills that they try to help their congregants overcome. Along with growing evidence of the toll from clergy burnout are efforts to combat it.
By some estimates, up to 1,500 pastors leave their jobs every month in part due to burnout, nearly two-thirds say the pressures of the job have diminished their passion to spread the faith, and almost all say they work too many hours and feel under pressure to have a perfect home life.
Stress is an occupational hazard for underpaid pastors in shrinking congregations, but it can also be a problem for clergy at fast-growing ones where there is an increasing workload and greater expectations.
Moral failure, family breakdowns, substance abuse and spiritual emptiness can result, experts say, and with the same or even greater frequency as for those whom religious leaders are called to minister to.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.”
- Psalm 119:60 (NIV)
“The wonder of our Lord is that He is so accessible to us in the common things of our lives: the cup of water...breaking of the bread...welcoming children into our arms...fellowship over a meal...giving thanks. A simple attitude of caring, listening, and lovingly telling the truth.”
- Nancie Carmichael
QUARTERBACK MOVES TO TRADEMARK 'TEBOWING'
A management and consulting firm representing New York Jets back-up quarterback and evangelical sports icon Tim Tebow has moved one step closer to holding the trademark "Tebowing" for use on things as widespread as clothing, pencil sharpeners and holiday ornaments.
Tebow has long been very public about his Christian faith. In college, he sported Bible verses on his eye black, which the NCAA went on to ban after his graduation. Tebow invoked God frequently at news conferences and wrote at length about his faith and growing up the son of evangelical missionaries the Philippines in an autobiography.
"Tebowing" became part of the American lexicon when Tebow, then a second year player for the Denver Broncos, was photographed bowing in prayer in the end zone on one knee, helmeted head bowed a top a clenched fist. It quickly became an Internet meme.... Read this in full at
RETIRING: RON SIDER, SOCIAL JUSTICE PIONEER WHO AUTHORED ONE OF TOP 10 BOOKS THAT SHAPED EVANGELICALS
Ron Sider, founder and president of Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA), announced Oct. 16 that he will retire in June 2013. His replacement: a "consensus model" leadership team of two co-directors.
Sider, who founded ESA in 1973, is most known for his ground-breaking 1977 book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. Christianity Today ranked the book No. 7 on its list of the Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals.... Read this in full at
The Keys to Overcoming Fear
“It's easy to look at [David's] situation and think, ‘Wow. It must've been really hard for David to have [King Saul] put a death warrant on him.’ But if we put ourselves in David's sandals for a moment, it becomes downright horrific.
“For me, it's like the president of the United States telling the CIA, the FBI, and the entire military, ‘Go get me that crazy Christian guy, Craig Groeschel. I want his sorry carcass, dead or alive.’ Wherever you live, imagine that the most powerful leader in your nation issued that command about you. Imagine that every force in the country is out scouring the countryside for you, interrogating your friends and your family, hot on your trail. You can't go to any public places. You're always looking over your shoulder.
“This nightmare was the reality of David's life. No matter where he went, he couldn't escape his knowledge that the most powerful man in Israel wanted him dead [see Psalm 56:1-4].
“David clearly was overwhelmed and perhaps even terrified. But he just called it like it was, being honest with God. You can do the same thing David did. It's okay to admit that you're afraid. Name your fears. Just say, ‘Here's what's happening, God. Here's what I'm afraid of’ ... ‘I'm afraid my best friend might betray me.’ ‘I'm afraid my business might go under next year.’
“Then follow that with what David did. ‘But even though I'm afraid, God, I'm choosing to trust in you.’ Take it just as far as David did. Say it aloud. Write it down. Rehearse it. Refer to it to remind yourself. Say it over and over: ‘I believe your Word, God. I'm choosing to trust in you, God. Because of you, I'm choosing not to be afraid.’
“Notice the last thing David says here: ‘What can mere mortals do to me?’ Well, let's answer that question. Honestly, what could mortal men have done to him? Well, for starters, they could have killed him! Perhaps even worse, mortal men could have captured him, tortured him, imprisoned him, and made the rest of his life miserable. These all sound pretty horrible.
“Then how was David able to overcome his fears? By refocusing his view of the problem, shifting his fear-fueled thoughts from the temporary, earthly point of view to an eternal perspective. By stepping back and viewing his fear from a more comprehensive perspective, David could say, ‘You know what? Even if my worst what-ifs come to pass, if I still choose to trust God, no one can do anything that hurts me eternally. Nothing.’ Suddenly his worst what-if paled in comparison with the goodness and faithfulness of God.
What about you? What's your greatest fear? Can you choose to trust God with it? Be as honest with yourself as you can. In my experience, the farther away I get from God, the more the what-ifs of this world begin to pile on, trying to suffocate me with fear. But the closer I am to God, the more I'm able to trust him, and the less hold the things of this world have on me. Choose. Tell God what it is you're afraid of. Then trust him no matter what.”
- Craig Groeschel in Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World
STUDY SHOWS HOW PRAYER, MEDITATION AFFECT BRAIN ACTIVITY (VIDEO)
How do prayer and meditation affect brain activity? Dr. Andrew Newberg, MD, is the Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomson Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College, and he has studied the neuroscientific effect of religious and spiritual experiences for decades.
In a video that recently aired on "Through the Wormhole" narrated by Morgan Freeman on the TV channel Science, Dr. Newberg explains that to study the effect of meditation and prayer on the brain, he injects his subjects with a harmless radioactive dye while they are deep in prayer / meditation. The dye migrates to the parts of the brain where the blood flow is the strongest, i.e,. to the most active part of the brain.... Read this in full at
BLASPHEMY BAN FAILS
Western opposition has made it impossible for Muslim states to obtain a ban on blasphemy, including anti-Islamic videos and cartoons that have touched off deadly riots, the Islamic world's top diplomat said.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said his 57-nation body would not try again for United Nations support to ban insults to religion, but appealed for states to apply hate-speech laws concerning Islam.
"We could not convince them," said the Turkish head of the 57-member organisation which had tried from 1998 until 2011 to get a United Nations-backed ban on blasphemy.
"The European countries don't vote with us, the United States doesn't vote with us."
Western countries see the publication of such images and materials as a matter of free speech.... Read this in full at
WHY BLASPHEMY LAWS ARE NOT ABOUT RELIGION
by Brandon G. Withrow
According to a recent Pew Research Center report, there is an increase of intolerance toward the religious globally. "The share of countries with high or very high restrictions on religious beliefs and practices rose from 31% in the year ending in mid-2009 to 37% in the year ending in mid-2010," concludes the report.
The intolerance recorded included both "governmental restrictions" and "social hostility," ranging from banned minarets on mosques in Switzerland to violence between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria or even restricted religious attire in U.S. prisons and restricted zoning permits for churches.
There are likely as many ideas for how to respond to intolerance of religion as there are religions. Education is one useful tool for combating intolerance, but there are solutions that will never be good for religion or society.
One option that ranks near the top of my list of terrible ideas is that of the blasphemy law.... Read this in full at
VIDEO: MUSLIMS ON THEIR 2012 PILGRIMAGE
“Jesus [did] not suffer so as to exclude your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ exempts you from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect to suffer.”
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), Morning by Morning, New York: Sheldon & Co., 1867, p. 96
VERSE TO PONDER
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
- Hebrews 12:11 (RSV)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: ALL AS GOD WILLS
Words: John G. Whittier, 1856
Music: Charles Hutcheson, 1832
All as God wills, who wisely heeds
To give or to withhold,
And knoweth more of all my needs,
Than all my prayers have told.
Enough that blessings undeserved
Have marked my erring track;
That, wheresoe’er my feet have swerved,
His chastening turned me back.
That more and more a providence
Of love is understood,
Making the springs of time and sense
Sweet with eternal good.
That death seems but a covered way
Which opens into light,
Wherein no blinded child can stray
Beyond the Father’s sight.
And so the shadows fall apart.
And so the west winds play;
And all the windows of my heart
I open to the day.
>from NetHymnal at
FRIDAY NIGHT REPLAY
Listen to Friday night's Path Of Life fellowship gathering online broadcast on Blogtalk radio here:
WHAT ABOUNT REPENTANCE?
“That we ought to give ourselves to God with regard to things both temporal and spiritual, and seek our satisfaction only in the fulfilling His will, whether He lead us by suffering, or by consolation, for all would be equal to a soul truly resigned. Prayer is nothing else but a sense of God's presence.”
- Brother Lawrence
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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How to become richer instantly? Desire less.
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, email@example.com if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program.
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