Connecting man to man to God
For week of December 2, 2012
Issue 436

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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Give thanks to the LORD because he is good. God’s faithful love lasts forever! Give thanks to the God of heaven — God’s faithful love lasts forever!”
- Psalm 136:1,26 (CEB)

It is Satan's custom by small sins to draw us to greater, as the little sticks set the great ones on fire, and a wisp of straw kindles a block of wood.”
- Thomas Manton

Zig Ziglar, known worldwide for his folksy and often anecdotal motivational talks on success through serving others, died Nov. 28 at a Plano, Texas, hospital of complications from pneumonia. He was 86.

Ziglar's deep, soothing Mississippi drawl, and speeches and books often sprinkled with mentions of his Christian faith, endeared him to millions. Ziglar was arguably the best-known motivational speaker of his day, having conducted hundreds of corporate seminars and given motivational speeches to hundreds of thousands of people over a 42-year speaking career.

An active Southern Baptist layman and a member at Prestonwood Baptist Church in the Dallas suburb of Plano, Ziglar was the author of more than 30 books, including best-sellers "See You at The Top!" and "Confessions of a Happy Christian." Another book, "Confessions of a Grieving Christian," followed the death in 1995 of daughter Suzan Ziglar Witmeyer from pulmonary fibrosis.... Read this in full at

also see “Ziglar, 'America's motivator,' conveyed hope, joy”

Angus T. Jones doesn't much like "Two and a Half Men," and he wishes viewers wouldn't watch the show.

So says the 19-year-old TV star in Christian testimony shot principally in his production trailer and posted by the Forerunner Christian Church on YouTube.

"Jake from 'Two and a Half Men' means nothing. He is a nonexistent character," Jones says. "If you watch 'Two and a Half Men,' please stop watching 'Two and a Half Men.' I'm on 'Two and a Half Men,' and I don't want to be on it.

"Please stop watching it; stop filling your head with filth. Please. People say it’s just entertainment. ... Do some research on the effects of television and your brain, and I promise you you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to television, and especially with what you watch."

"A lot of people don't like to think about how deceptive the enemy is. He's been doing this for a lot longer than any of us have been around," Jones says, presumably referring to Satan. "There's no playing around when it comes to eternity." .... Read this in full at,0,5071222.story

Read: “Exclusive Q&A: How 'Two and a Half Men' Star Became Hollywood's Highest-Paid 'Hypocrite'”

Watch: Angus Jones’ testimony at

Read: Church responds to media inquiries over TV sitcom star’s affiliation

Watch: Turning Point: Angus T. Jones
In this special preview episode of a new series called Turning Point, host Connie Jeffery interviews Angus T. Jones about his spiritual journey.

Read: Angus T. Jones - I'm Sorry If ...

Read:What we may have in common with 'Two and a Half Men' actor

by Richard Stearns
We should embrace the strategy that has successfully attracted people to Jesus for two thousand years - authentic Christianity.

What if we simply stuck to what Jesus commanded us to do: love our neighbors as ourselves, care for the poor and the sick and the brokenhearted, stand up for the oppressed, be generous with our time and our money, and live winsome lives filled with grace and gentleness?

Christians have always lived, and often thrived, in cultures where they are minorities. Christianity began in a Jewish culture and thrived in a pagan Roman one. The apostle Paul, writer of nearly half the New Testament, actually offers advice to the church in Corinth which lived in the midst of a very pagan society. His words should guide us today.

In I Corinthians 5:9, Paul encourages the Christians to clean up their own affairs. The church was in a mess with sexual shenanigans, internal bickering, and a deep division between rich and poor. Paul gives them some advice, but he also says Christians shouldn't worry about whether others follow Christian moral teaching.... Read this in full at

by Jonathan Petersen
Our Father – who demonstrates your divine workmanship everyday in your wondrous creation – you have made us in your own image so that we may find joy in creative work. Have mercy on those who are unemployed, and those who are underemployed. Show yourself to those in need of employment as one who personally cares and who is designing a path to a rewarding outcome, even when the journey seems aimless and rejecting. Help us to see the various tests we encounter as occasions for joy, as you've instructed us. Help us to find our confidence in you rather than in our own ability or in the acceptance of others. May the testing of our faith produce endurance in us so that we may become more mature in Christ and in the expression of our love for you. Help us to use, in gainful employment, the gifts and talents you have generously given us. Help us to embrace change in our lives to the point where we find joy in it, because we know you're bringing that change in order for us to be more like you. Help us accept the need to learn new skills and give us the wisdom and ability to do it. And help us not be weary in the job hunt; especially when days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turn into years.

We pray for the families of the unemployed and underemployed. The spouses, children, and other members, who, as a result of lost income or the absence of health care benefits, are suffering too. Emotions can run ragged during the search for employment and relationships can be bruised. We pray that, rather than becoming petulant, aloof, or hurtful, the family would look to you for your direction and your love to remain strongly united and in peace with one another.

We pray that all of us would become more sensitive to the needs of the unemployed and underemployed; their physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental needs. That we would truly see one another as images of you; your worth, your dignity, your value, and your love. Help us all to be mindful of those in need and be ready to encourage them, help them, and recommend them for employment situations we become aware of.

And we pray that you would give understanding, compassion, insight, and wisdom to those who are in positions to hire people. May they determine to fill jobs as a way of serving you and performing a needed ministry. Help them to be discerning and sensitive. And may their decisions be in accordance with your will, not theirs.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we pray, amen.

by Clare De Graaf
How much of what we as Christians own, belongs to God? Hopefully your answer is the same as the man to whom I addressed that question, “All of it.” Well, if God owns all of it and we are merely his money managers and trustees and writing his checks for him, then we have some very hard questions to ask such as:

1. Would God ever direct us to write a donation check to a secular university or other non-Christian charities?
2. With an estimated 13,000 people dying from preventable diseases or hunger every day, do you think God would prefer we give for a new cafeteria for the local Christian school?
3. Would God write a check to your church, if he didn’t attend there? In other words, is loyalty to one’s church an adequate reason to write checks on God’s account?

The quick answer to these questions may actually be a “conditional yes.” But, before we address those questions, let’s step back and take a look at the big picture. If we read all of scripture, there seems to emerge a priority of what’s important to God.... Read this in full at

by John Pattison
Advent Conspiracy got started when a few friends—including Rick McKinley, the founding pastor of Imago Dei Community in Portland, Oregon; Chris Seay, pastor of Ecclesia in Houston, Texas; and Greg Holder, lead pastor of The Crossing in St. Louis—were commiserating about how much they dreaded pastoring at Christmas. They felt the tension of proclaiming and celebrating Emmanuel (“God With Us”) while they and their congregations participated in the idolatry of consumerism. Advent Conspiracy was their response. “We didn’t know what to expect, but we knew we needed to reclaim the story of Christmas, the foundational narrative of the Church,” they wrote in their 2009 book, Advent Conspiracy: Can Christmas Still Change the World?

It turns out they weren’t the only ones feeling that tension. Advent Conspiracy, which began with five churches just a few years ago, has grown into a worldwide movement of tens of thousands of believers who are choosing to celebrate Christmas in a different way. They are “substituting compassion for consumption.” They are worshiping fully, spending less, giving more and loving all through the sharing of their wealth. I spoke to Holder about celebrating Christmas in a new way.... Read this in full at

ChurchAds.Net, a United Kingdom-based ecumenical charity, is best known for its annual holiday campaign: "Christmas starts with Christ." Past campaigns have featured a bus shelter nativity and an ultrasound Jesus; but this year, the group is targeting consumers with a rather different image: Godbaby.

The "Godbaby toy" is fictional, but church leaders are hoping eager shoppers will buy into the campaign's deeper message: that Jesus is the season's "'must-have' Christmas gift."

UK churches, including the Church of England, have endorsed the poster, but others remain uncomfortable with the "tacky" and "blasphemous" image.

In addition to the "Godbaby" poster, ChurchAds.Net is also sponsoring radio campaigns that broadcast the nativity story in the style of a horse race and of a soccer match. Read this in full and click on all the links at

by Janie B. Cheaney
Thanksgiving’s over, but giving thanks is always appropriate. In fact, gratitude is often counted among the character qualities of successful people—successful in life, that is, not necessarily business. In 2004 Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson published Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, now considered the seminal work on human virtue from a scientific standpoint. The authors isolate 24 universally acknowledged character traits, which can be further narrowed to the seven most critical to life satisfaction and high achievement. One of the seven is gratitude.

Most Americans would agree, at least in theory, that it’s important to count one’s blessings, and individually stating what we’re thankful for around the Thanksgiving table is a ritual repeated every year in households across the nation. Friends, family, health, safe travel, and good food usually top the list. For a day, or part of a day, we make a point of feeling good about these things and may resolve to be more grateful in the future—or at least until the next argument over money or breakdown on the highway or long night in a hospital. Gratitude as it’s practiced in contemporary society is generally lightweight and fleeting, more gloss than gear.... Read this in full at

Because of a new relationship between Bible Gateway and National Council of Churches, visitors to will now have access to the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translations of the Bible.

With great appeal to Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian traditions, these translations now have the opportunity to expand their reach and influence among Bible Gateway’s visitors. The RSV and NRSV have joined the website’s 160+ Bible translations offered in approximately 70 different languages.

On behalf of the NCC, Clare Chapman, deputy general secretary commented, “Today’s readers look for the Scriptures on many different platforms. Adding the NRSV and RSV to the Bible Gateway website will encourage the widest possible use of the translations. We believe it will be a valuable tool that will encourage the use of the NRSV and RSV in public worship and education, as well as in private study and devotion.”

With roughly 13 million unique visitors each month, adding the RSV and NRSV will allow Bible Gateway to serve its current visitors and appeal to a new group of Bible readers. By participating in the website’s program, the NRSV and RSV translations will quickly become part of the daily visits of those who are attracted to Bible Gateway’s free and easily accessible website.... Read this in full at

by Byron Yawn
You can’t actually “do all things” in Christ. Not the way you think you can anyway.

I realize this sounds like sacrilege given the suburban spin we’ve put on this biblical expression, but it’s true. Paul did not intend some sort of personal triumphalism here.

Flatly, the Apostle Paul couldn’t “do all things” either. Paul could not get out of prison — which is where he penned this verse (Philippians 4:13) — no matter how intensely he believed in Jesus. He was stuck there until God determined otherwise.

But, he could “be imprisoned” in Christ who strengthened him to be imprisoned. Prison is such a good place to discover Christ’s sufficiency.

The true meaning of “all things” might disappoint contemporary Christians. But, it shouldn’t.

The actual point is even more glorious than the suburban legend. It gets us so much closer to grace. We normally take it to mean something like, “I can do anything I set my mind to if I simply believe.” .... Read this in full at

Where do you have to go to hear God’s voice and feel His peace and contentment? Chuck Swindoll describes one scene where you’re not likely to hear what God’s saying to you. See the video at

Had I the tongues of Greeks and Jews,
And nobler speech than angels use;
If love be absent, I am found,
Like tinkling brass, an empty sound.

Were I inspir'd to preach, and tell
All that is done in heaven and hell;
Or could my faith the world remove,
Still--I am nothing without love.

Should I distribute all my store,
To feed the hung'ry, clothe the poor;
Or give my body to the flame,
To gain a martyr's glorious name;--

If love to God, and love to men,
Be absent--all my hopes are vain:
Nor tongues, nor gifts, nor fiery zeal,
The works of love can e'er fulfil.
- Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, n. 134, p. 360

Contrary to what many scientists believe, science points toward a creator of the universe instead of away from God, says best-selling author and Christian apologist Lee Strobel.

Speaking at a two-day Christian apologetics event at Saddleback Church in Southern California, Strobel kicked-off the series of weekend messages given by five apologists by talking about The Case for a Creator.

"There are some scientists that will tell you that the evidence of science points away from a Creator. That it disproves the existence of a Creator," said the atheist-turned-Christian and former legal editor of The Chicago Tribune.

Strobel continued by giving an example. "Jerry Coyne thinks so. He's a University of Chicago professor of ecology and evolution. He said in USA Today: 'Science and faith are fundamentally incompatible … Science helps religion only by disproving its claims.' But is that true? Does science point away from a Creator?"

He then explained to the more than 3,500 people in attendance at the church and an online audience: "I used to be an atheist just like Dr. Coyne is an atheist, but I came to a far different conclusion after my investigation of the evidence. I concluded that science, when done right, points powerfully and persuasively toward the existence of a Creator who just happens to look a lot like the God of the Bible... Read this in full at

by Rick Marschall
I have become aware of the condition of a friend who is experiencing some trials lately. None of the experiences are, perhaps, unusual in themselves, but their almost simultaneous visitations could test anyone's spirit. He is trying, not to make sense of these sorts of life-happenings -- because everything makes sense or nothing makes sense, and "time and chance happen to all men," as Proverbs says -- but to cope, simply to cope. Have you ever been there?

In less than a calendar year his special-needs niece died; his nine-day-old granddaughter died; his wife, after multiple long-term illnesses, is to choose between dialysis and hospice; and his sister, who lost her home in Hurricane Sandy, is losing a battle with HIV that was long held at bay. My friend says he keeps fighting the seduction to moan about his own condition, his own emotions and reactions to these matters.

But he knows -- that is, he too infrequently remembers -- that it is not about him. It is about these loved ones. And about God. Usually, when nothing makes sense to us, and God seems to be somewhere in the story, it means that God is EVERYWHERE in the story. The man's wife, for instance, has been cited by many, many people through the decades as an inspiration: encouraging people to faith and endurance. And his sister, after years of rebellion, has come to know Jesus, drawing closer to God.... Read this in full at

by Joel J. Miller
One after another the kids kept coming. Parents were bringing their children to Jesus for his blessing, and Jesus was happy to comply. The disciples, however, were less accommodating. As the gospels report, “the disciples rebuked them” (e.g., Mark 10.13).

Jesus was not pleased with his followers. Mark tells us that he was indignant.

Let the children come to me,” he said, “do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (10.14-15).

Great. So we need to be like children. But what does that mean?.... Read this in full at

The official Christmas tree of the US Capitol arrived Nov. 26 and will be illuminated at a ceremony on December 4.

Dozens of tourists, Capitol Hill staffers, and news crews watched the tree's arrival along with Stephen Ayers, the Capitol architect. "My job is to officially accept the Capitol Christmas Tree on behalf of the Congress," he said.... Read this in full at

The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
- Colossians 3:16 (CEB)

God's loving initiative to step into time and space to restore us to Himself is still a cause for wonder and praise.”
- Gloria Gaither

Evangelical Protestants have become more devoted to their religious beliefs over the last three decades, even as Catholics have become less attached to their faith, new research finds.

The denominational differences come even as religious affiliations have decreased overall in America, with the number of people who claim no religious affiliation at all doubling from 7% in 1990 to 14% in 2000, said study researcher Philip Schwadel, a sociologist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Nevertheless, Schwadel said, these unaffiliated individuals seem to be dropping out of religious institutions that they were previously ambivalent about. People who feel strongly about their faith are as numerous as ever.... Read this in full at

by Lela Garlington
After his East Mississippi Community College football team went undefeated and won the 2011 junior college championship, star lineman Derrick "DJ" Wilson was offered full athletic scholarships to four-year colleges in Alabama and Louisiana.

But as the football season came to an end, the 2010 Horn Lake High graduate had more important concerns. His mother, Jelks Wilson, was dying of cancer. Wilson was driving home from school every weekend — an eight-hour round-trip — to care for her and his two younger sisters.

Wilson would wake to the sounds of his mother's soft mumbling. Straining to hear, he realized she was praying.... Read this in full at

A groundskeeper whose brother died a few weeks ago in a car accident is finding comfort in a small but distinct cross discovered in a tree trunk at a Lafayette, Calif., cemetery.

"Since my brother passed away, I've been looking for signs, waiting for him to come to me in my dreams, tell me goodbye," said Juan Ochoa, 45, who works at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, where tree trimmers on Tuesday stumbled upon the religious symbol. The discovery, he says, is helping ease his pain.

Workers removing the fallen California pine stopped cutting when they found the cross image in a section of the tree. No other portions of the tree contained similar markings, Ochoa said.... Read this in full at

by Morgan Guyton
The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). This is one of the most radical statements that Jesus ever made. Within it is the revelation of not only Christian but also Jewish morality. I read something similar from Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel, who said Torah was always meant to be a gift for the sake of humanity’s flourishing rather than a burden for the sake of entertaining God’s capricious fancy.

But in evangelical Christian culture today, it’s as if Jesus never said these words. Because we measure our spiritual credibility according to how toughly we talk about sin, we are invested in making morality burdensome. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were the same way in their zeal for the self-justification they gained through the burden of the homage they paid God. What made Jesus’ Sabbath healing so offensive to the Pharisees was not merely His violation of Jewish law but the way that He called out their morality based on conspicuous gestures of “honoring” God by exuding a morality that really did honor God through its compassion for human need.... Read this in full at

by Ed Stetzer
A new study done by Patrick F. Fagan examines the effects of pornography on individuals, marriage, family, and community. Fagan is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Research on Marriage and Religion at the Family Research Council. He specializes in examining the relationships among family, marriage, religion, community and America's social problems.

This study is important for everyone to read as it demonstrates it has damaging effects on individuals and families. In the summary Fagan explains, “Pornography is a visual representation of sexuality which distorts an individual's concept of the nature of conjugal relations. This, in turn, alters both sexual attitudes and behavior. It is a major threat to marriage, to family, to children and to individual happiness. In undermining marriage it is one of the factors in undermining social stability.’ .... Read this in full at

by Rob Phillips
We can better appreciate God's sovereignty, even in the darkest nights, by observing 10 reasons we suffer, according to Scripture.

1. We suffer because we sin. All of us are sinners (Romans 3:10, 23). Unbelievers live lifestyles of independence from God, while believers experience moments or seasons of independence. Spiritual discipline is designed to target sin in a believer's life and that discipline may be severe, including death (1 Corinthians 11:29-32).... Read this in full at

by David Yonke
Until his recent retirement, the Rev. Dale Schaefer spent most Sunday mornings wearing vestments and leading worship services at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Bowling Green, OH.

But whenever he had the time on his off days, the soft-spoken preacher would slip a helmet over his gray hair, don an asbestos racing suit, and climb into the cockpit of a 750-horsepower dragster he built from the ground up.

There is kind of a rush when you launch this thing off the starting line,” Schaefer said, giving his customized 1980 Plymouth Arrow a loving slap. “Your eyes go back in their sockets and they don’t pop back until you’re about at the hot dog stand. Then you can see again. It’s a rush.” .... Read this in full at

by Susan Power Bratton
Can God be found on the Appalachian Trail?

Long before the Puritans of the Plymouth Colony laid a lasting religious claim to the Appalachian peaks, Eastern Woodland Indians claimed those heights as the first residences of the supernatural beings of their religious traditions.

Then the Puritans arrived. Colonists seeking religious independence from established churches and the religious mainstream moved into mountain valleys at the margins of the frontier. Certain sites along the trail route became associated with the story of Exodus from the Bible. And in this version, America was the new "Promised Land."

The American Romantics, including the Transcendentalist writers and the Hudson River Valley painters, visited the Appalachian peaks seeking both a deeper spiritual experience and subjects for their work. Benton MacKaye, a Harvard-trained planner, proposed the trail as a respite from the physical and mental impacts of industrialization and urbanization in 1921.... Read this in full at

Are American students making the grade when it comes to ethics?

A new survey from the Josephson Institute of Ethics finds that the portion of high school students who admit to cheating, lying or stealing dropped in 2012 for the first time in a decade. The reasons aren't totally known, but the results of the poll of 23,000 high school students give leaders of the Los Angeles-based non-profit organization hope.

The survey is "a pretty good sign that things may be turning around," said Michael Josephson, the founder and president of the Josephson Institute. "I'm quite optimistic this is the beginning of a downward trend."

Among the highlights from the survey, which is done every two years:.... Read this in full at

The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.”
- Augustine

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe.”
- Hebrews 12:28 (CEB)

Words: Charles Coffin, 1736; translated from Latin to English by John Chandler, 1837
Music: Samuel Wesley, 1837

The advent of our God
Our prayers must now employ,
And we must meet Him on His road
With hymns of holy joy.

The everlasting Son
Incarnate deigns to be;
Himself a servant’s form puts on
To set His people free.

Daughter of Zion, rise
To meet thy lowly King,
Nor let thy faithless heart despise
The peace He comes to bring.

As Judge, on clouds of light,
He soon will come again,
And all His scattered saints unite
With Him in Heaven to reign.

Before the dawning day
Let sin’s dark deeds be gone;
The old man all be put away,
The new man all put on.

All glory to the Son
Who comes to set us free,
With Father, Spirit, ever One,
Through all eternity.

>from NetHymnal at

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Every time we pray our horizon is altered, our attitude to things is altered, not sometimes but every time, and the amazing thing is that we don't pray more.”
- Oswald Chambers


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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I ate so much over the holiday weekend I decided to quit cold turkey.
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, if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program. 
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