Connecting man to man to God
For week of February 24, 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:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
- Proverbs 1:7 (NIV)
“God's peace is joy resting. His joy is peace dancing.”
- F. F. Bruce
AUTHOR & SEMINARY PROFESSOR HOWARD HENDRICKS DIES
Howard Hendricks, who taught at Dallas Theological Seminary for more than 60 years, died Feb. 20 at age 88, leaving behind a legacy of Bible lessons and Christian leaders across generations.
Hendricks authored 18 books and preached around the world in more than 80 countries. Through his teaching he influenced many Christian leaders; several count him as their mentor, including Chuck Swindoll, Tony Evans, Joseph Stowell and David Jeremiah.... Read this in full at
7 STARTLING FACTS: AN UP CLOSE LOOK AT CHURCH ATTENDANCE IN AMERICA
by Rebecca Barnes and Lindy Lowry
1. Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend church — half of what the pollsters report.
While Gallup polls and other statisticians have turned in the same percentage — about 40% of the population — of average weekend church attendees for the past 70 years, a different sort of research paints quite a disparate picture of how many Americans attend a local church on any given Sunday.
Initially prompted to discover how church plants in America were really doing, David Olson, director of church planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church (covchurch.org), began collecting data in the late ’80s, gradually expanding his research to encompass overall attendance trends in the church. In his study, he tracked the annual attendance of more than 200,000 individual Orthodox Christian churches (the accepted U.S. church universe is 330,000). To determine attendance at the remaining 100,000-plus Orthodox Christian churches, he used statistical models, which included multiplying a church’s membership number by the denomination’s membership-to-attendance ratio.... Read this in full at
SO, WHO HALLOWS GOD'S NAME?
by Carolyn Arends
"Hallowed be thy name," I said this morning, mumbling my way through the Lord's Prayer. I've prayed that phrase countless times.
What does it mean to "hallow" God's name? I was raised to flinch whenever someone uses it as a mindless exclamation or, worse, a curse. I've heard about the extreme care taken in branches of Judaism: Pages containing the name of YHWH are never thoughtlessly discarded but rather buried or ritually burned. When I've prayed the Lord's Prayer, I've tried to cultivate that kind of personal reverence for his name — even while living in a world prone to profane it, and a church apt to make puns with it on T-shirts.
I'm glad I was taught to avoid blasphemy. But I'm beginning to suspect that my understanding of what it means to hallow God's name has barely scratched the surface.... Read this in full at
SOME WORDS WEAR OUT
by Clare De Graaf
Based on how you live your life, what you’re passionate about, how you care for others and spend your discretionary time and money, would your spouse, your children, or your closest friends characterize you as a Christian – or a serious follower of Jesus?
Remember the cartoons on TV when you were a kid, when the bad guys were being chased by the police? They always seemed to have a convenient bag of nails to throw out of their car, in hopes of flattening their pursuers’ tires.
Whenever I ask the question which I posed at the beginning of this blog, of someone who knows intuitively they are not a serious follower of Jesus, that’s the feeling I get. They often want me to define, explain and debate with them. I think they sense God getting close – ready to catch them, and transform them into someone they’re not sure they really want to be. Out come the theological tacks.
I know their fear. For the first three decades of my life, I thought I had God right where I wanted him. He was close enough to be a comfort, but distant enough as to not be terribly inconvenient.... Read this in full at
THIS THING ALL THINGS DEVOURS
by Jeremy Statton
I love the riddle section of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit. During the epic battle of wits, Gollum offers this riddle for Bilbo’s consideration:
"This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountains down."
The answer, of course, is time.
I was listening to a series by Andy Stanley recently about creating breathing room in our lives. The specific areas he addresses include relationships, money, and time.
He quoted a book by Bronnie Ware titled The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. Ware worked in hospice and her job was to visit and help provide the needs for those who were terminally ill.... Read this in full at
EVERY PILGRIM'S STORY
by Dan Graves, MSL
The most popular book of the Christian world, next to the Bible itself saw publication on February 18, 1678. It is a story of fantastic creatures and deadly dangers. In his many adventures, the hero battles with a raging dragon, flounders in a bog from which he is unable to extricate himself, and is chained in a castle, hostage to despair.
The story is Pilgrim's Progress, authored by John Bunyan while he lay in prison for preaching without a license and for other offenses against the established church. Since its publication, it has never been out of print. The book made him famous in his own day and has been a help to Christians for centuries since.
The hero is a pilgrim, a man named Christian, whom we first meet searching for truth and for relief from a terrible load he carries on his back. This load is sin. At the foot of the cross the load tumbles off. Freed, Christian hastens by a path narrow and hard toward an eternal city which is pointed out to him. Along the way he meets a great variety of vividly pictured individuals, some who help and some who hinder him.... Read this in full at
THE KEY TO SHARING YOUR FAITH IN A POST-CHRISTIAN CULTURE
by John Burke
It is not enough for one Christian to befriend and share her faith with another person. That worked in a culture that was mostly Christian, where most people grew up with a background knowledge of and respect for the Bible, mainly needing the central theme of grace clarified to decide whether to follow Christ. However, in today’s post-Christian context, people often need the intersection of three elements in order to find faith and become the church:
1. A friendship with someone who truly acts like Jesus—listening, caring, serving, and talking openly about faith in a non-pressuring way. (We talked about this in part 1.)
2. Relationship with a “tribe” of four to five other Christians whom they enjoy hanging out with and who make them feel like they truly belong (the focus of this chapter).
3. A “come as you are” learning environment where they can learn, usually for six to eighteen months, about the Way of Jesus. (We will discuss this in chapter 13.)
When all three of these elements intersect the lives of those far from God, it’s amazing how many people find the love and grace of God and bring their network of friends and family along with them. You will begin to see more and more people, once far from God, now following Christ and leading others to do the same. But first we must build relational momentum.... Read this in full at
RELIANCE ON ME
Although self-sufficiency is acclaimed in the world, reliance on Me produces abundant living in My kingdom.
Walking to the world's tempo is tempting at times. The desire to blend in can be both subtle and powerful. Self-sufficiency is certainly promoted in the world, sometimes to the point of self-deification. Though I don't really want to be self-sufficient, I sometimes find myself trying to appear as if I am. I know better: I have discovered that depending on You is the way to live more abundantly. Whenever I face difficult situations, I am grateful I can rely on You to help me. Teach me to depend on You more and more.
Beloved, the first thing you must deal with is being overly concerned about appearances. Remember that I look at your heart, not your outward appearance. What is most important to Me should also be most important to you. Resist the desire to look good and blend in with the world. Recognize that most people who appear self-sufficient are actually struggling deeply; many are even dependent on harmful substances to help them keep up appearances.
Reliance on Me results in abundant living because it is the way I designed you to live: I created people to be dependent on Me. The essence of Adam and Eve's first sin was their desire to be like God and thus capable of living independently. Ever since then, depending on Me continually has gone against the grain of human nature. Notice I said "continually"; this is the way I want you to rely on Me. Depending on Me in difficult circumstances is a good start. However, the more frequently you look to Me for help, the more you will find Me faithful. I sustain you moment by moment, so there is never a time when you don't need Me. Awareness of your neediness is actually a rich blessing--connecting you to Me and My abundant supply!
"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." — 1 Samuel 16:7
"You will not surely die," the serpent said..." "you will be like God, knowing good and evil." — Genesis 3:4-5
"I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved." — Psalm 16:8 AMP
- Source: Dear Jesus: Seeking His Life in Your Life by Sarah Young
THE GIFT OF ENCOURAGEMENT
by Marjorie Thompson
As ordinary mortals, even the most persistent optimists among us become discouraged at times. To be discouraged means to lose heart. Metaphorically and spiritually, the heart is the core of human energy, emotional connection, and drive for life. When we lose heart, we may become bored and restless with life, fearful of the future and anxious in the present, cynical about people or institutions, passive or distant in our relationships, and low on basic energy for daily tasks. We may even descend into the profound isolation of depression. Sources of discouragement seem endless. Perhaps we experience failure at some endeavor, or a person we trusted betrays us. A sudden loss changes our lives forever, a dreaded diagnosis is given, or a new perspective on reality shakes the foundations of our faith. Perhaps we feel our elected officials have failed us, our public social structures are crumbling, or that “the system” is rigged against us. Sometimes it seems life is just a series of curve balls in a game where survival requires a constant dance of repositioning ourselves to maintain any sense of balance or stability.... Read this in full at
WHEN GOD DOESN’T ANSWER PRAYER
by Dorothy Littell Greco
Our all-powerful, all-loving God encourages us to ask Him for what we want. But sometimes, after we’ve put it out there, He seems to turn and walk in the opposite direction. We are left with questions: Why did He want us to pray if He was just going to say no, anyway? Were we praying “wrong” in the first place? What are we supposed to do now?
I have repeated this cycle multiple times. More than a decade ago, I began experiencing unrelenting fatigue, muscle soreness and waning strength. Countless tests and doctor visits later, I received the diagnosis of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. For the next five years, I politely asked God for healing, then demanded healing, then finally gave up hope for healing.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us.
- 1 John 4:11-12 (CEB)
“It is not my ability, but my response to God's ability, that counts.”
- Corrie ten Boom
MOVEMENT SEEKS '1 MILLION MEN' TO FIGHT PORNOGRAPHY ADDICTION
Pornography is the "pink elephant in the pew" -- the embarrassing, big subject no one wants to talk about -- and that silence is feeding a "bubonic plague" harming churches, pastor Jay Dennis told state Baptist convention executive directors and editors gathered in Oklahoma City.
"Our enemy has found the perfect tool to deliver temptation to men -- men who love God, men who love their wives, love their children and love their churches," Dennis, pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Fla., said Feb. 14. "Yet their involvement in looking at pornography has virtually duct-taped their mouths closed and taken them out of spiritual leadership in the home and in the church.".... Read this in full at
END TIMES INFOGRAPHIC DISSECTS CHRISTIAN VIEWS ON TRIBULATION, RAPTURE
A graphic designer and evangelical Christian pastor who has been working his way through all 66 books of the Bible to create theological illustrations of each one, recently shared a new infographic summarizing three common end-time views held by Christians.
Josh Byers, who has published nine Bible-themed infographics for the personal project he calls "Project 66," unveiled his end times infographic earlier than he had planned, due to high demand for an illustration of the differing views on the end times among evangelical Christians.
In Christianity, the end times is punctuated by the tribulation, the rapture and the second coming of Jesus Christ, and is often discussed along the lines of premillennialism, postmillennialism and amillennialism. The Book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible, is usually cited in these discussions, although other New Testament books and prophetic books of the Old Testament are referenced as well. Christians believe the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ will return at some future point to reign on Earth and judge the world — although the purported timeline of events are hotly debated.... Read this in full at
BOX OFFICE STUDY SHOWS MOVIES WITH CHRISTIAN, REDEMPTIVE WORLDVIEWS AND VALUES EARN THE MOST
Moviegoers prefer movies with Christian, redemptive values, reveals an annual study of box office figures among the major movies produced by Hollywood.
According to the 2013 Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry by the Christian Film & Television Commission®, an advocacy group in Hollywood, movies with very strong Christian, redemptive worldviews reflecting traditional moral values earned four times as much money on average as movies with very strong Non-Christian, Anti-Christian, or mixed worldviews, $90.78 million versus $20.22 million.... Read this in full at
THE BEARDS OF MINISTRY: A FIELD GUIDE FOR PASTORAL FACIAL HAIR :)
The beard is back in a big way. Along with celebrities, bike messengers, and your local barista, pastors are no exception to the glories of facial hair.
The ministry beard has a long and glorious history among preachers, theologians, and everyday men of the cloth. A skilled observer can identify nuances of theology, polity, and diet from a pastor's beard. Now you can too! A carefully groomed beard can make a powerful spiritual statement.
Here’s a handy taxonomy to help you identify ministry beards in their natural habitats. See this humorous Infographic at
TYNDALE ACQUIRES YOUNG ABOLITIONIST ZACH HUNTER’S JULY 2013 RELEASE, CHIVALRY
Tyndale Momentum, a nonfiction imprint of Tyndale House Publishers, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Chivalry: The Quest for a Personal Code of Honor in an Unjust World by 21-year-old Zach Hunter (http://www.zachhunter.me/), a renowned human rights activist.
What does it mean to live with honor? Isn’t gentility old-fashioned? Since self-centeredness is the cultural norm, it is vital to have a clear sense of how to treat others in our daily lives. A fresh take on the ancient code of chivalry can help determine what and who deserve our consideration, respect, and protection. Chivalry dares readers to view life as a quest, developing a personal code of conduct to defend others, live with integrity, and do battle for good—and God.... Read this in full at
TWO OUT OF THREE TEENS SAY ADULTS NOT DOING ENOUGH TO SET POSITIVE EXAMPLE
According to a new World Vision study, conducted online earlier this month by Harris Interactive on behalf of World Vision, more than half of teens (56%) say social media sites (Facebook, Twitter) have made them more aware of the needs of others. This is a huge increase from 2011, when just over 4 in 10 (44%) said their use of social media made them more aware.
According to the online study, more than 2 in 3 teens (68%) say that, when it comes to helping those in need, adults don't do enough to set a positive example for teens. From now until April, some 200,000 teens will go hungry as part of World Vision's 30 Hour Famine (30HF) to raise funds and hunger awareness. 30HF has more than 31,000 Facebook friends. Since 1992, 30HF has raised more than $150 million to fight world hunger. This is the first time 30HF funds are being designated to fight hunger here in the United States. According to the survey, most teens feel it is primarily the responsibility of churches or other religious organizations (76%) to help address hunger in the local community, with as many as 2 in 3 teens (66%) also indicating that the responsibility lies with them.... Read this in full at
SINGLES SURVEY REVEALS CASUAL VIEWS ON SEX
A new survey done for Match.com is shedding some light on what singles are saying about their sexual behavior, CBN News reports. According to the survey, 42% would not date a virgin, 47% report having a "friends with benefits" relationship, and 44% of women and 63% of men have had one-night stands. Almost a third say they've had sex by the third date and almost half said they had sex by the sixth date.
At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control released two new studies showing that the United States faces an ongoing and severe epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases. More than 19 million new infections are reported every year, up from 15 million in 1996, and half of the new cases affect people ages 15 to 24.... Read this in full at
THE HIGH PRICE OF MATERIALISM
Every day, we are bombarded with the message that equates the "good life" with the "goods life." See this video at
HEROD THE GREAT EXHIBITION OPENS IN JERUSALEM
For the first time ever, Herod the Great has become the subject of an extraordinary exhibition at the Israel Museum titled "The Kings Final Journey" (http://www.english.imjnet.org.il/HTMLs/Home.aspx). The exhibit includes over 250 artifacts collected from the archaeological remains of several buildings and palaces constructed by Herod the Great, including pieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The display features reconstructions and artifacts from Herod’s edifices at Herodium and Jericho. Starting with his funeral procession of Herod, which began at this third palace in Jericho, the visitor first arrives in Herod's reconstructed throne room completed with restored frescos.
As the visitor walks from room to room within the exhibit he is taken through many of Herod's major building feats including Caesarea and Masada and artifacts from these sites and others along with digital restorations are on display. However, it is the newly excavated (as believed) Herod’s tomb, which takes center stage. The reddish sarcophagus of Herod, discovered outside the palace at Herodium in 2007, was found shattered in hundreds of pieces and was meticulously restored for the exhibit. It is on display in the last room of the exhibit, adjacent to the magnificent royal room.... Read this in full at
IS CHRISTIANITY FOR YOU?
by Patrick Morley
(The following is an excerpt from Patrick Morley's new book, Is Christianity For You?)
For the most part, I've found it's more important to explain the Christian faith than defend it, since more people are misinformed about Christianity than oppose it.
To answer life's most challenging questions, we all progress--and sometimes regress--through a series of four belief systems: secular, moral, religious, and Christian. So whether you are a seeker or a skeptic, an agnostic or an atheist, Part One will help you understand these four major belief systems and assess where you are today.
In Part Two, we'll answer some of the most common questions and objections about Christianity, such as:
* Is the idea of God logical?
* Shouldn't science rule over theology?
* How can you stake your life on the being Bible true?
* If God is good, why is there so much suffering?
* Is it "reasonable" to believe in the Christian faith?
Finally, in Part Three, I'll show you the historic, orthodox way of making Christianity your own, and give you a few suggestions for how to grow in your Christian faith.
I'm convinced that what you'll read in these pages is the truth that can help you become the person God created you to be. God loves you very much and wants to fill your life with meaning, hope, peace, and purpose.... Read this in full at
HINDUS SEEK FORGIVENESS AT GANGES & YAMUYNA RIVERS
by Maggie Hardison
It's hard to fathom that people from all over India and the world come to bathe where the Ganges and Yamuna meet. The confluence of the two rivers is muddy and gray, laden with diseases and parasites.
Yet, this spot is considered holy -- or at least it is during the Kumbh Mela festival in the city of Allahabad.
Hindus believe that bathing in the water cleanses their sins.
According to Hindu myths, the gods and the demons once fought over the nectar of life, spilling several drops on the earth. The largest drop fell where the Ganges and Yamuna meet. When the moon and Jupiter align, Hindus believe that the flow is joined by a mystical river, the Saraswati, bearing the divine nectar of immortality.
Some believe that if they can bathe in these rivers at exactly the right time, it can stop the cycle of reincarnation.... Read this in full at
DONATIONS POUR IN FOR HOMELESS MAN WHO RETURNED DIAMOND RING
Well-wishers from around the world are opening their wallets to a homeless man who returned a diamond engagement ring to its rightful owner, after she accidentally dropped it in his donation cup.
"I actually feel like I'm especially lucky to have this ring now. I loved it before. I loved it so much, but I love it so much more now. I feel like it has such great karma," Sarah Darling told CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."
Darling, who is from Kansas City, Missouri, said she was devastated when she realized she'd lost her ring. She almost never takes it off, but it was giving her a bit of a rash so she did, zipping it in her coin purse for safe keeping.
Later, she absentmindedly emptied the contents of that purse into the collection cup of Billy Ray Harris, who is homeless and often stays under a bridge in Darling's hometown.... Read this in full at
“Be careful how you live; you will be the only Bible some people ever read.”
- William Toms
VERSE TO PONDER
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
- 1 John 4:18
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: O THE BITTER SHAME AND SORROW
Words: Theodore Monod, 1874
Music: Charles J. Vincent, Jr. (1852-1934)
O the bitter shame and sorrow,
That a time could ever be,
When I let the Savior’s pity
Plead in vain, and proudly answered,
“All of self, and none of Thee!”
Yet He found me; I beheld Him
Bleeding on th’accursèd tree,
Heard Him pray, “Forgive them, Father!”
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self, and some of Thee!”
Day by day His tender mercy,
Healing, helping, full and free,
Sweet and strong, and ah! so patient,
Brought me lower, while I whispered,
“Less of self, and more of Thee!”
Higher than the highest heavens,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, Thy love at last hath conquered:
Grant me now my supplication,
“None of self, and all of Thee!”
>from NetHymnal at
FRIDAY NIGHT ARCHIVE REPLAY - 02/24/2013
Listen to last Friday night’s (02/24/2013) Path Of Life fellowship gathering online broadcast on Blogtalk radio here: "OBEY THEM THAT HAVE RULE OVER YOU" AND OTHER CRAP
“Prayer means turning to Reality, taking our part, however humble, tentative and half-understood, in the continual conversation, the communion, of our spirits with the Eternal Spirit; the acknowledgment of our entire dependence, which is yet the partly free dependence of the child. For Prayer is really our whole life toward God: our longing for Him, our "incurable God-sickness," as Barth calls it, our whole drive towards Him. It is the humble correspondence of the human spirit with the Sum of all Perfection, the Fountain of Life. No narrower definition than this is truly satisfactory, or covers all the ground.” Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Spiritual Life, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1937, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1985, p. 61
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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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, firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program.
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