Connecting man to man to God
For week of February 17, 2013
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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IN THIS ISSUE:
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
- 1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV)
“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God's will.”
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
MISSISSIPPI MAINTAINS HOLD AS MOST RELIGIOUS USA STATE
Mississippi remained the most religious state in the union in 2012, with 58% of its residents classified as very religious. At the other end of the spectrum, Vermont remained the least religious state, with 19% of its residents classified as very religious.
Overall, 40% of Americans nationwide were classified as very religious in 2012 -- based on saying religion is an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week. Thirty-one percent of Americans were nonreligious, saying religion is not an important part of their daily life and that they seldom or never attend religious services. The remaining 29% of Americans were moderately religious, saying religion is important in their lives but that they do not attend services regularly, or that religion is not important but that they still attend services.... Read this in full at
FIFTY SHADES OF BEIGE
by Clare De Graaf
Christian leaders and pastors have been speaking out lately against a new, fast growing genre’ of novels which have been labeled, “mommy porn”. The most popular title is 50 Shades of Gray. The three book series has sold more than 65,000,000 copies! It’s filth! (At least, that’s what I’m told by people I respect.)
However the greatest danger to the church and you and I personally, isn’t porn or sex – it’s beige, religious Christianity. Jesus himself warns us of this sin by way of his warnings to the church at Laodicea, when he said, “So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:16
Nobody wakes up one morning and makes the decision to be a lukewarm Christian.... Read this in full at
DR. BENJAMIN CARSON'S INSPIRATIONAL SPEECH AT THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST
Dr. Benjamin Carson (http://carsonscholars.org/), author of Gifted Hands and director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, brought an audience of dignitaries, including President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle, to their feet with his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC.
The doctor's 25-minute speech touched on political correctness, the need to be respectful with people holding differing opinions, freedom of speech, education, spirituality, and more. Hear this inspiring speech at
OBAMA PLEADS FOR A MORE PRAYERFUL WASHINGTON
President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 7 pleaded with Democrats and Republicans to take a more prayerful stance as they address the nation's problems.
"This is now our fifth prayer breakfast, and it is always just a wonderful event. But I do worry sometimes that as soon as we leave the prayer breakfast, everything we've been talking about the whole time at the prayer breakfast seems to be forgotten — on the same day of the prayer breakfast," Obama said, provoking laughter from the 3,000 people in attendance.
"I mean, you'd like to think that the shelf life wasn't so short," the president said. "But I go back to the Oval Office and I start watching the cable news networks and it's like we didn't pray." .... Read this in full at
CHRISTIAN READERS INVITED TO VOTE FOR THE BOOK OF THE YEAR
Christian book lovers are invited to vote for the 2013 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.
Although small publishers are often less well known than larger publishing houses, they produce fresh and innovative books to inspire readers or fill niche needs.
The Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year award honors books produced by small publishers for outstanding contribution to Christian life.
Readers can vote online now at http://www.ChristianBookAward.com. Voting on the Book of the Year Award is open now through March 31, 2012.
Voters will choose one book in each of 12 categories: General Fiction, Romance, Biography, Christian Living, Relationships/Family, Devotional, Bible Study/Theology, Gift Book, Children's Book 4-8 years, Children's Book 8-12 years, Young Adult (12+ years), and Ebook Exclusive.
The winners of the 2013 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award are determined solely by the votes of Christian retailers and book lovers alike. The winners will be announced April 15, 2013.
The Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award is sponsored by Christian Small Publishers Association, http://www.christianpublishers.net.
AS NOVELIST, JAMES DOBSON PORTRAYS A BLEAK FUTURE FOR FAMILIES
Christian conservative leader James Dobson, the founder of the Focus on the Family ministry, has gained a new title: novelist. Working with co-author Kurt Bruner, a Texas pastor, he’s out with “Fatherless,” the first of a dystopian trilogy that looks into the future when the elderly outnumber the young, advancing the culture wars to new dimensions. Dobson, 76, answered emailed questions from Religion News Service about his new project.
Q: Why did you venture into fiction after writing about real-life parenting for so long?
A: This is my first novel, but not my first foray into fiction. I have always believed in the power of narratives to influence thought and shape the spiritual imagination. While with Focus on the Family I challenged the team to create a radio drama series called “Adventures in Odyssey.’’ My co-author, Kurt Bruner, led that team for several years. We couldn’t be more excited about the potential of this new trilogy to embody themes on which I have been writing, speaking and broadcasting for decades.... Read this interview in full at
Also read Dobson’s interview, “When Family Falls Apart – James Dobson on “Fatherless”,” at
CHRISTIANS AND PORNOGRAPHY
by Teddy Ray
What are you consuming? If you profess Christ as Lord, does it impact the decisions you make about what you watch and read? I’ll be candid from the start here – I’m concerned that professing Christians are regularly making entertainment choices that should be absolutely off the table for them.
I’ve been often discouraged to hear of a number of professing Christians who have no problem taking in porn.
At the same time as I’ve seen a number of American Christians making entertainment choices no different from the rest of our world, I’ve been reading accounts of Christians in other parts of the world who were severely persecuted for things like refusing to work on the Sabbath. I’m disheartened at our level of commitment if we won’t abstain from some of these things at no real hardship to ourselves while others around the world are taking much bolder stands at risk of suffering and even death. Would those brothers and sisters around the world, who are persecuted for their faith, be shocked that we call ourselves Christians but can’t abstain from pornography because of our culture’s influence or our own desires? .... Read this in full at
4 REASONS MEN LIKE PORN
by Luke Gilkerson
1. Porn is easy, but relationships are hard.
Relationships, especially our closest relationships, involve work.
Every day we are required to care what’s going on in others’ lives. We must put up with sour moods, offensive behavior and selfishness—both in ourselves and in others.
In contrast, porn offers men a feeling of risk-free intimacy.
Pornography offers men a fantasy world where they are required to know nobody, require no romance and no self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. And for many men the payoff is great: not only can they avoid the messiness of real relationships, they can also feel the delight of a million virtual women catering to their every whim.... Read this in full at
On the day the pope resigned, lightning literally struck St. Peter’s Basilica. See the photo at
POPE EXPECTED TO LIVE OUT A QUIET RETIREMENT IN VATICAN MONASTERY
Pope Benedict XVI will continue living inside the Vatican once his retirement becomes official, but observers say he will probably keep a low profile — both before and after the election to choose his successor. The 85-year old German will officially step down from the papacy at 8 pm local time on Feb. 28.
As the Roman Catholic Church prepares for the election of a new pope, Benedict will move to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, just outside of Rome. But this will only be a temporary abode.... Read this in full at
'SPORTSMEN FOR CHRIST' REACHES DISABLED HUNTERS
Joe Williams, 57, hadn't visited the woods in years. For the lifelong fisherman and hunter, being disabled and unable to navigate rugged terrain on foot has been frustrating -- even depressing.
Williams was diagnosed with myotonic muscular dystrophy as a young boy. But the debilitating symptoms didn't begin until around 2005. The former mechanic now relies heavily on his wheelchair and walker to get around, and he spends most winter days inside.
"The cold makes me shake so bad that I can't stand up," said Williams, a member of Glenola Baptist Church in Archdale, NC. "I can't walk very far. About 50 yards is as far as I could walk."
But Williams returned to the woods this past December, when Glenola partnered with local businesses, the church's women's ministry and local hunters to provide an outreach to disabled hunters.... Read this in full at
HOW TO PAINT WITH NO HANDS
by Rick Marschall
This is the Age of Specialization. If you don’t agree, look at the Yellow Pages (oh, OK, or a Google search) for local physicians. You will find categories for ailments and body parts – left and right; upper and lower – you never heard of. The same with, say, magazines. They say print journalism is dying, but “niche publishing” flourishes: serving every interest, hobby, and need.
I think of all us accept that God has some specific gift, a certain talent, apportioned to each of us. Surely we sense an aptitude we might have, as we proceed in life; we must. And, I hope, we all pray for guidance and grace as we exercise God’s career counseling, so to speak.
But do you ever wonder whether we short-change ourselves, and neglect all of God’s blessings, when we pursue one “gifting”? After all, the Bible lists nine spiritual gifts, given at different times to His children, when needed for their benefit and His purpose. I believe he has created us all as multi-talented, potentially multi-tasking, budding “polymaths” – people of many interests, capacities, and knowledge. For our fulfillment, and His glory.... Read this in full at
CHRISTIANS REMINDED THAT LENT IS ABOUT 'GIVING UP' TO GAIN AND GROW
their 46-day period (40 not counting Sundays) of self-denial on Ash Wednesday, with some taking up a fast of food or alcohol, cutting back on watching television, or refraining from using social media in an effort to gain ground in their spiritual life.
The period known as Lent, which ends on Easter Sunday upon the start of Holy Week, has its roots in a 4th century tradition and is not mentioned in the Bible, although it is observed in some fashion by various Christian traditions, including Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox. The season traditionally starts on Ash Wednesday with observers getting the sign of the cross rubbed onto their foreheads with ashes, a reference to Jesus Christ. Although Ash Wednesday is not mentioned in Scripture, dust and ashes are symbolically identified with repentance and mourning.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”
- John 13:34-35 (CEB)
“The call to follow Christ always means a call to share the work of forgiving men their sins. Forgiveness is the Christlike suffering which it is the Christian's duty to bear.”
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 90
WHY WE NEED TO MAKE ROOM FOR A THEOLOGY OF PAIN AND DISAPPOINTMENT
by Christopher Abel
When I was growing up, we went to church because we were hurting. I would sit on the hard pew in silence. As the worship music played, I would look up at my mother. Her eyes would be closed in prayer, her face etched with grief. Life was hard then. My father wasn’t in the picture, and she was lonely and overwhelmed trying to raise my brother and me. Worship services were a place of solace. They were a place to petition God for some change. We went to church to open our hearts and lift up our pain to God.
But sometimes churches don’t know how to handle pain.... Read this in full at
‘BOND OF BROTHERS’ BEST THING FOR MEN SINCE PROMISE KEEPERS
book review by Ron Brackin
“Bond of Brothers: Connecting with Other Men Beyond Work, Weather, and Sports” (Zondervan, 189 pp., $16.99) by Wes Yoder, is not a quick read. Nor should it be. If you read it in a sitting or two, you'll miss its potentially life-changing “ouch” and “aha” moments, and it will have been just another Christian book.
But “Bond of Brothers” is not just another Christian book. It’s an autopsy. Wes Yoder deftly makes the “Y incision” and folds back the pale flesh to expose what is inside men today. Then he directs us to the Founder and CEO of the re-creation and resurrection business.
The title, of course, is a play on “band of brothers,” a line from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Prior to the historic Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the young king encouraged his war-weary troops: “From this day to the ending of the world . . . we in it shall be remembered -- we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.” .... Read this in full at
4 REASONS WHY CHRISTIANS HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR
by Eric C. Redmond
We do many things to avoid death, the pain of death, and the uncertainty about what awaits us after death. Some people refuse to plan their wills or attend funerals, for that forces them to think morbid thoughts. Others avoid new ventures that involve air travel even though you are more likely to be in a car accident than a plane crash. Still others of us shrink back from sharing our faith where it would mean persecution or possibly martyrdom.
If we are going to be people who live Christ-centered, counter-cultural lives, we cannot let death bully us with concerns about death itself, the manner of our demise, and what lies just past the door to the afterlife. Instead, we must be fully assured that Christ’s work in the incarnation, on the Cross, and in the resurrection means for us that there is nothing to fear.... Read this in full at
AS WE MOVE CLOSER TO CHRIST, WE DISCOVER HOW MUCH MORE WE REALLY NEED HIM
by John R. Throop
As John Newton wisely wrote in his popular hymn "Amazing Grace," we all were lost, but if we've given our lives to Christ, we've been found and saved from sin. We'd like to think of our post-conversion lives as a spotless and continuous pursuit of growing into the likeness of Christ. But we can persist in sin for years without changing.
Paul taught that, while we may move away from obvious and evident sin, we contend with inner attitudes that cause us to move away from God's grace. Or we persist in sinful pursuits and justify them—as John Newton did when he continued to work in the slave trade after his conversion. Dealing with our sinful nature is a process over time, as made clear in Romans 7:7-25 and 1 John 1:8-2:6. Sin constantly seeks to draw us away from God, and we regularly need to repent: 1 John 3:4-10 and Luke 15:11-32.
It is one thing to receive the salvation we have in Jesus and to be delivered from our sins. It is quite another to fully receive Christ in our lives and to be Christ in the world. We have been reconciled, but we struggle to incorporate fully the breadth and depth of that reconciliation and to live it out. That's why repentance is a necessary and ongoing Christian discipline. We strive to be sinless, but we do fall into sin.... Read this in full at
TODAY I WILL WALK HUMBLY AND GRATEFULLY WITH YOU, MY LORD
“When Jesus redeems your life, it is changed forever. Now understand something about that truth that I haven’t always known: a life redeemed by God doesn’t necessarily mean that all your external circumstances change, but because the risen Christ is present with you and in you, your life is full of purpose and hope.
“Yes, I used to think that when you love and follow Christ, he would change those life circumstances that are painful or clear your path of potential potholes. I believe now that the truth is far greater: rather than get us or keep us out of trouble, Jesus lives in us through any troubles we encounter.
“Consider that, after the death and resurrection of Christ, Pilate was still in power, Herod still ruled, and the Roman soldiers still rode their horses through the streets of Jerusalem. Nothing had changed in the world of politics—but, in a very real way, everything had changed. After all, sin had been crucified and death had been defeated.
“Likewise, your world probably didn’t turn right-side up when you accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord. When we look only at external circumstances, we are in danger of missing the whole point of the miracle and gift we have been given. Yet, when you know that the God who holds the universe in place, and who knows all that is true about you, loves you enough to die for you, how could your life ever be meaningless again?
“What contributes to those moments when life seems meaningless? Be sure to manage those contributing factors that you can control (time with the Lord, sleep, exercise, diet, balance, busyness, etc.), so that you aren’t an easy target for the enemy’s lies.
“In what ways was everything about your world different once you accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord?
“God of wonders, it is a wonder that you chose me to be your child. Thank you for that amazing grace and for the purpose and meaning with which you and your love fill my life. May I live in a way that honors and glorifies you—and makes others notice and want to know you too.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you, But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” — Micah 6:8
This devotional is an excerpt from Good Morning, Lord: I Don't Know Where You're Going Today But I'm Going with You by Sheila Walsh
HIS NETS: CHURCHES AND THE LIFE-SAVING POWER OF MALARIA NETS
More than 216 million people contracted malaria in 2010, and 655,000 people died that same year worldwide from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
To combat these grave statistics, HIS Nets (http://www.hisnets.org/), a Christian nonprofit, is working with churches and partner-organizations to distribute insecticide-treated sleeping nets to people throughout sub-Saharan Africa and India.... Read this in full at
MOCKINGBIRD: A NEW ONLINE SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY
Mockingbird is an online spiritual community of Christians mostly in their 20s and 30s.
According to Episcopalian David Zahl, "Mockingbird (http://www.mbird.com) was started in 2007 in NYC, by a bunch of friends and colleagues who were interested in reaching out to young adults who had been "burned by the church." Many of us had grown up in mainline churches and had watched our friends drift away, or in some cases, get pushed away. We noticed that many of them ended up in New York, a place we love (my hometown). Anyway, it soon morphed into something else altogether, something much more exciting and larger in scope."
Zahl adds, "Mockingbird is a non-profit organization devoted to connecting the message of God's grace with the realities of everyday life in fresh and creative ways. We do this primarily, but not exclusively, via online resources, publications, and conferences." .... Learn more at
MIRACULOUS TRUE STORY OF MAN'S SURVIVAL AFTER OVER 95% OF BODY BURNED
There was no escape. On March 6, 2006, oil rig worker Billy "Jack" McDaniel stood in horror as the flames of an explosion whooshed 90 feet up to where he was perched.
"In seconds I had become a dead man," McDaniel explains. Five years later, after more than 100 surgeries, McDaniel and his wife A'Leta tell their story.
"Dead Man Breathing" begins at the moment the fire engulfed Billy Jack's body. "Muscle and skin and stuff, it was just flying off in chunks," he writes. He decided to jump and put himself out of his searing pain, but a coworker talked him out of doing that.... Read this in full at http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/1161871447.html
BIBLE SMUGGLING PERSISTS — BUT IS IT STILL NEEDED?
A short-term missions trip with Vision Beyond Borders (VBB) isn't your average STM. Volunteers aren't working in orphanages or building houses; they're smuggling Bibles.
VBB isn't the only ministry that emphasizes the need to spread the Bible, even where transporting and publishing it is illegal. Such efforts have persisted for years — as has debate over whether or not Bible smuggling remains necessary.... Read this in full at
PERSECUTION ON THE RISE FOR CHRISTIANS IN EASTERN EUROPE
It's been a long road since the revolution that swept away atheistic communism in Eastern Europe 20 years ago. The wave of religious freedom that swept the region now seems to be receding.
Citizens of the former Soviet Union are facing growing restrictions on their religious freedom. On February 6 a panel of experts in Washington reported that governments are closing more churches, fining, and arresting their religious leaders, and destroying church literature.... Read this in full at
“Not all men are called to be hermits, but all men need enough silence and solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of their own true self to be heard at least occasionally.”
- Thomas Merton
VERSE TO PONDER
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.”
- John 3:16 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: RORATE
Words: William Dunbar (1460-1520)
Music: Rorate, traditional Scottish tune
Rorate coeli desuper!
Heavens, distil your balmy showers;
For now is risen the bright Daystar,
From the rose Mary, flower of flowers:
The clear Sun, whom no cloud devours,
Surmounting Phoebus in the east,
Is comen of His heav’nly towers,
Et nobis puer natus est.
Sinners be glad, and penance do,
And thank your Maker heartfully;
For He that ye might not come to,
To you is comen, fully humbly,
Your soulès with His blood to buy,
And loose you of the fiend’s arrest,
And only of His own mercy;
Pro nobis puer natus est.
Celestial fowlès in the air,
Sing with your notès upon the height,
In firthès and in forests fair
Be mirthful now at all your might;
For passèd is your dully night;
Aurora has the cloudès pierced,
The sun is risen with gladsome light,
Et nobis puer natus est.
Sing, heaven imperial, most of height,
Regions of air make harmony,
All fish in flood and fowl of flight,
Be mirthful and make melody;
All Gloria in excelsis cry,
Heaven, earth, sea, man, bird and beast;
He that is crowned above the sky
Pro nobis puer natus est.
>from NetHymnal at
FRIDAY NIGHT ARCHIVE REPLAY - 02/15/2013
Listen to last Friday night’s (02/15/2013) Path Of Life fellowship gathering online broadcast on Blogtalk radio here: WHAT DOES THE REAL CHURCH LOOK LIKE?
“The truths that I know best I have learned on my knees. I never know a thing well, till it is burned into my heart by prayer.”
- John Bunyan
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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Google Maps Street View of Grand Canyon (gorgeous!)
See 3 feet of snow fall in 45 seconds
Photos: Kumbh Mela, world's biggest religious festival
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.)
The advice your son rejected is now being given by him to your grandchild.
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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