Connecting man to man to God
For week of July 21, 2013
Issue 468

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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God! His way is perfect; the LORD’s word is tried and true. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.”
- Psalm 18:30 (CEB)

As the salt flavors every drop in the Atlantic, so does sin affect every atom of our nature.”
- Charles Spurgeon

by Sam Storms
A lot of people are either unnerved or angry, or a combination of both, by the thought that the National Security Agency (the NSA) has evidently conducted extensive surveillance of American citizens, whether it be of their telephone calls, texts, emails, web searches, or daily conversations. The ultimate outcome of it all, at least from a legal point of view, has yet to be determined.

I find it intriguing that people are so concerned about the government knowing what in actual fact is very little about their lives but typically ignore altogether the fact that God knows everything, literally and exhaustively, everything about them.

Does your knowledge of God’s knowledge of you frighten you? Or do you find in it comfort and security and strength? David, King of Israel, celebrated God’s knowledge of him. He was strengthened and reassured by the fact that no thought, desire, plan, or purpose escaped the eye of his heavenly Father.... Read this in full at

by Taylor Adams Danser
Fifty-two. For former Super Bowl MVP and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, it was more than his jersey number.

Those two simple digits gained importance at age 10 when he used a deck of cards as part of a self-disciplining exercise during a troubled childhood living in the garage of his mother and stepfather’s home in Florida.

I promised myself that I wouldn’t run from pain; I’d actually chase pain,” Lewis recalled July 13 as keynote speaker for the No More Excuses men’s conference at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church.

I needed to feel what pain felt like, but I needed to feel me inflict my own pain,” he said.

The significance of those 52 cards? “I flipped over six, I did six pushups. I flipped over 10, I did 10,” Lewis said. “And I went through it, and when I got through, I shuffled again and started doing my sit-ups.”

The routine gave him courage against his stepfather, whom he called the “most abusive man” he had ever lived with.... Read this in full at

by Michael Cheshire
If you have never been told you might be dying, I highly recommend the experience.

For me it turned out to be a lifesaving and life-altering experience. Up until a few years ago, I was immortal. Death was a scary little troll that visited other people, but not me. I had lived a charmed life. I had worked as a professional firefighter, a motorcycle was my mode of transportation, and I enjoyed hobbies that leaned towards the risky side. Never once did I feel that I was close to the end.

But life has a funny way of reshuffling the deck.... Read this in full at

by Mel Lawrenz
Modeling Perseverance is one of the most powerful forms of spiritual influence.

We don’t seem to use the word perseverance very often. Maybe because it has the word severe in it. Or maybe it seems a bit old-fashioned, like King James Bible English. There is no question that other words roll more easily off the tongue, like winning, succeeding, finishing. But here it is, the biblical mandate: persevere.

The best influencers know how to persevere. Whether or not they know the duration of the effort, the struggles ahead, the distance to the finish line - or even whether there is a finish line — they keep going. One foot in front of the other. Progressing one inch at a time. Each day a new opportunity to start again. People who persevere hold to a conviction that plodding ahead pleases God, even when there is no applause and no immediate reward.... Read this in full at

by Phil Cooke
I say “non-Christian” because for many reasons, Christian culture looks down on them. They have not been considered traditional Christian behaviors. But one of the big reasons we’re losing our voice in today’s culture is that we don’t understand and master these critical habits. Here’s the list: .... Read this in full at

by Sungyak "John" Kim
With the help of a few popular Christian apologists and philosophers, such as William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga, the rational defense of Christianity has enjoyed an explosive surge in recent years. The increasing enrollment of Christian philosophy students, the widely publicized debates with popular atheists (with no little help from YouTube), and the growing collection of mainstream philosophy books show just how dominant a role Christian apologetics plays in Christianity’s interaction with our culture today.

All these considerations call for an introspective checkup. Now is a good time to ask, as Soren Kierkegaard did, whether Christian apologetics has evolved into nothing more than a cultural activity where one “gets busy at once to deal with every accusation, every falsification, every unfair statement, and in this way is occupied early and late in counterattacking the attack.” “This,” said Kierkegaard, “I have no intention of doing.”

But this, I believe, is precisely what many Christian apologists seem bent on doing today in the public square. It really is no big secret that the way mainstream apologists today answer every “prate and twaddle” that comes their way — line for line — is proving to be ineffective and brings some very negative consequences. Here we see the flip side of the popularity of Christian apologetics is the Church’s constant surrender to the culture’s definition of “rational,” “reasonable,” and “justified.” .... Read this in full at

Only when a man tries to live the divine life can the divine Christ manifest Himself to him. Therefore, the true way for you to find Christ is not to go groping in a thousand books. It is not for you to try evidences about a thousand things that people have believed of Him, but it is for you to undertake so great a life, so devoted a life, so pure a life, so serviceable a life, that you cannot do it except by Christ, and then see whether Christ helps you. See then whether there comes to you the certainty that you are a child of God, and the manifestation of the child of God becomes the most credible, the most certain thing to you in all of history.”
- Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Addresses, Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1895, p. 53

by Clare De Graaf
I was asked to comment on whether or not Christians should practice or participate in either yoga or the martial arts. My short answer is – very carefully.

Depending on your age, you may have very little interest in either activity. However, if you have children, grandchildren, or you mentor someone who does, you would be wise to have a position on these activities.

I’ll be right up front. I have less concern with yoga - the exercise, not the practice of spiritual meditation - than I have with martial arts. I realize that both came out of eastern religions and both were practiced for centuries as a religion, or a way to connect with “the gods,” and in most cases, still are. But, we don’t stop celebrating Christmas even though December 25 was originally a pagan holiday: Roman Solstice. So, I’m less concerned about the historic roots than the actual practice today by Christians, or led by Christians.... Read this in full at

Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained."
- C. S. Lewis in Words to Live By

by Brian Dodd
1. @KayArthur – I have met many Christian leaders in my life. The only person who ever intimidated me was the Founder of Precept Ministries. I’ve never met anyone who loves God and His Word more than Kay.
2. @SarahBessey – Hailing from Canada, Sarah is a Jesus lover, writer, blogger, Christian feminist, unrepentant hashtag abuser, joyful subversive, and recovering know-it-all.
3. @JeffBrodie – The Executive Director at Connexus Community Church has recently jumped head first into blogging. Trust me, his Twitter and blog posts contain can’t miss content.
4. @Chris_Broussard - In addition to covering the NBA for ESPN, Broussard gained national prominence for his Christian stand on marriage.
5. @CatalystLeader – Led by Brad Lomenick, Catalyst is the highly-influential convergence of next generation Christian leaders.... Read this in full at

Fear signals danger. The danger may be real or imaginary, but we must be aware of our fear to be able to work through it. The Bible often tells us not to fear because God is in control (see Lamentations 3:57; Zephaniah 3:15; Haggai 2:5). It is an important choice to make. However, if we are not aware of our fear, we cannot make the choice to trust in God; thus we will stay even farther away from him. We must first learn to identify our fear.

Some who deny their fear turn into cold, insensitive people who are proud and defensive.

That happens because if a person is not aware that he or she is afraid and does not trust in God, the only other option is to trust in his or her own ability.

In addition, denying fear keeps us out of touch with our humble position in the universe and keeps us away from God. It is our fear and lack of control over much of life that leads us to our heavenly Father; we must be in touch with our fears to recognize our position of need.

If people are out of touch with their fears, they will have negative experiences with God and others. For example, if a person is not in touch with her fear of abandonment, she will be out of touch with her need for other people and may treat them very insensitively. This often happens in a marriage in which one partner is not in touch with the fear of being left. This partner takes the other for granted and treats that person poorly. Fear gets us in touch with our true vulnerability and our need for others and God.
- Source: The NIV Life Journey Bible

by Jim Daly
When I was an eight-year-old boy, I looked to Hank, the father figure in my life, for all the things the other kids my age seemed to enjoy with their dads. Sadly, Hank wasn’t willing to be engaged in my life. He adored my mom, but my siblings and I were simply excess baggage. While my mother was affectionate and nurturing, Hank’s love for us was missing in action. As a youngster longing for a strong, caring father figure in my life, it would have gone a long way toward forging a close bond between Hank and my siblings and me if he had:

1. Shown us appropriate affection
2. Given us words of affirmation
3. Pursued activities with us such as fishing, hiking/walks, sports
4. Taken the time to offer advice
5. Provided biblical guidance and wisdom.... Read this in full at

In his book Evangelism Explosion, D. James Kennedy tells a true story:

“‘I once heard a man walk up to a woman and say, “How are your kidneys today?” ... Her response? Did she hit him with her purse? No, she said the following: “Oh, they're much better today, thank you, Doctor.” I overheard those words in a hospital room. The doctor had earned the right to ask that personal question. If you doubt that, stop the next lady you meet on the street and ask it yourself, and see what happens. All of which is to say, we need to earn the right to ask personal questions.’

Let me offer a couple of principles to consider as you attempt to reveal the unseen realm to the people in your life.

First, only authenticity and integrity can win a hearing. Be real. Don't buy into the myth that always being in the right will make people want to hear what you have to say. Own your mistakes. If you've said too much and offended, apologize. If you're angry, either confront your offender tactfully or let it go. If you form a wrong opinion, admit it.

Second, you cannot convince anyone of a truth you're not living. If you want to talk about the forgiveness of God, you'll have to model forgiving others. If you want to discuss the love of God, then faithfully love your wife or husband as Christ loved the church. People notice inconsistencies quickly, but they're just as quick to see godly character. They're also smart enough to know that if you really believe something, you'll have no trouble living it.”
- Source: Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus by Charles R. Swindoll

Our Lord Jesus will come to you and will show you His consolations, if you will make ready for Him a dwelling place within. All that He desires in you is within yourself, and there it is His pleasure to be. There are between Almighty God and a devout soul many spiritual visitings, sweet inward conversations, great gifts of grace, many consolations, much heavenly peace, and wondrous familiarity of the blessed presence of God.”  
- Thomas Kempis

While we’re on this fallen earth, Jesus is with us and within us (see Matthew 28:20; Colossians 1:27). But it also works the other way. We’re also ‘in him’ and seated ‘with him’ while he’s in heaven (see Romans 8:1; Ephesians 2:6).

Somehow we’re seated in heaven with Jesus. By knowing him, he serves as a portal to show us things of heaven. That means that as we walk with Jesus in this world, we’ll experience foretastes of what heaven will be like. When we come to him anxious and ask him to help, maybe that’s why we leave more peaceful.

Mysteriously, this next Scripture passage was written to believers still alive on fallen earth — and it’s not written in future tense, so it seems that it’s describing what is happening now: “You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (Hebrews 12:22–23).

We’re already citizens of the kingdom of heaven, and we can learn to celebrate what heaven’s residents celebrate. In heaven, angels and people rejoice in God and in the things of his kingdom. They rejoice when people turn away from the ways of evil, when goodness is spread and when Jesus-followers make the world look more like his kingdom.

The kingdom of heaven isn’t just your future home. It is in some way your home right now — it’s just that it’s around the next bend. If you really wrap your mind around this truth, it will profoundly impact the way you live. Live like the citizen of the kingdom of heaven that you are. Spread heaven wherever you go.
- Source: The Great Rescue Bible (NIV) by Walk Thru Bible

When Anne Beiler bought a stand in a weekly Pennsylvania farmers' market, her ambitions were modest. The founder and CEO of Auntie Anne's started the company after enduring personal and family trauma. Today it's the largest soft-pretzel franchise in the world, and its 1,200 outlets can be found in malls, airports, and boardwalks in 26 countries. Auntie Anne's is now owned by Focus Brands, and it generated sales of $410 million in 2012. Beiler, 64, grew up in an Amish community and credits that upbringing and her faith in God for much of her success. Her story in her own words:.... Read this in full at

New York City is far from America's so-called "Bible Belt," but a new list argues the Big Apple is still the nation's "most saintly" city.

According to real estate blog Movoto, NYC handily beats out Colorado Springs (among other cities in Colorado, California, and Arizona) to claim the title.

Movoto's list stands in stark contrast to Barna Group's list of "most Bible-minded" cities and Gallup's list of "most religious" cities.... Read this in full at

The new president and CEO of Open Doors USA is Dr. David Curry. Open Doors USA is the international ministry that supports and strengthens persecuted Christians in some of the most dangerous countries in the world.

The organization's board of director's made the announcement after a search began last September when Carl Moeller stepped down from the office to take a new position as president and managing partner of a group aimed at fulfilling the global need for strategic alliances between international business and philanthropy. Curry has previously served as CEO of The Rescue Mission in Tacoma, Wash. He will begin his new duties at Open Doors USA on Aug. 1.

"The biggest challenge I think we are going to face is trying to get the American church to understand the scale and the magnitude of persecution around the world their brothers and sisters are facing today," Curry told The Christian Post. "We are so far removed, even with modern technology, from the kinds of punishment and persecution that people are facing in these countries like North Korea, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and so forth that I'm not sure we can get our minds around it.... Read this in full at

You are the one who created my innermost parts; you knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb. I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart. Your works are wonderful—I know that very well.”
- Psalm 139:13-14 (CEB)

We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.”
- R. C. Sproul

Can belief in God predict how someone responds to mental health treatment? A recent study suggests it might.

Researchers at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., enrolled 159 men and women in a cognitive behavioral therapy program that involved, on average, 10 daylong sessions of group therapy, individual counseling and, in some cases, medications. About 60 percent of the participants were being treated for depression, while others had bipolar disorder, anxiety or other diagnoses.... Read this in full at

by Thomas Whitley
Criticizing people who pick and choose which parts of Scripture to follow is fruitless because everyone -- liberal and conservative -- does it. Those who claim to be "staunch believers in the Bible" claiming its inerrancy and infallibility along with those who view it as a historical and all-too-human text.... Read this in full at

by Patrick Morley
The "rookie" mistake is to simply "read" the Bible as a revered wisdom book full of tips on how to be "happy, healthy, and wealthy." I know that's what I did! I had big plans for my life when I became a Christian, so I read the Bible for tips on how to be more successful. I even once pledged to tithe a certain amount to obligate God to bless me with the income to support it. He clobbered me for that one! For over a decade I tried to change God. Finally, the Bible helped me understand something: God wanted to change me. That's when I started to read the Bible every day.

The "pro" way to approach the Bible is to "immerse" ourselves in it as the living word of God. It's to let His Holy Spirit speak to, commune with, convict, correct, direct, encourage, challenge, and inspire us. It's to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). It's to "be there" as Moses speaks on the shore of the Jordan, explaining that it's not because we are good but because the people of Canaan are wicked that God is giving us this land--and to feel pierced. It's to grasp that I sent Jesus to the Cross. It's to revel in His Easter. It's to feel the weight of His holiness. It's to be drawn into a life of worship. It's to realize that God alone is worthy of all our praise, glory, and honor. It's to progressively find ourselves in the place where David found himself: "Passion for your house has consumed me" (Psalm 69:9).

Eighteen International Mission Board workers and their children watched with mixed emotions as the twin-prop plane took off from the jungle airstrip, headed back to the city.

As they stood surrounded by wide rivers and miles of dense Amazon rain forest on all sides, reality began to sink in. They were on their own.

The group trudged through mud and stifling heat, loaded down with children, suitcases and boxes of supplies, before arriving at the camp -- a row of simple wooden cabins beside a river -- that would be home for the next month..... Read this in full at

by Billy Coffey
I was sitting at an intersection, passing the time between stop and go by studying the car in front of me. Vehicle: a rusty, broken, and tired Toyota. Driver: young lady, no more than seventeen and blissfully unaware of her surroundings. A sound system that was worth much more than the car itself vibrated everything from the windows to the doors to the license plates.

Vanity plates, of course. If you’re seventeen and cool, vanity plates are a requirement.

They also say a lot about a person. Vanity plates are tiny windows into a personality, a creative assemblage of letters and numbers that offer a glimpse into what matters most to the owner.

And it was pretty obvious what mattered most to that young lady. Her license plate used the term “vanity” in a more literal way.

ILUVME, it said.... Read this in full at

Going to choir practice tonight? Turns out, choir music has calming effects on the heart — especially when sung in unison. But this is even more amazing: The Swedish study found it took almost no time for the singers’ heart rates to become synchronized. The readout from the pulse monitors, which scientists attached to singers’ ears, starts as a jumble of jagged lines, but quickly becomes a series of uniform peaks.... Read this in full at

by Dan Merica
How many ways are there to disbelieve in God? At least six, according to a new study.

Two researchers at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga found that atheists and agnostics run the range from vocally anti-religious activists to nonbelievers who nonetheless observe some religious traditions.

The main observation is that nonbelief is an ontologically diverse community,” write doctoral student Christopher Silver and undergraduate student Thomas Coleman. “These categories are a first stab at this," Silver told the website Raw Story. "In 30 years, we may be looking at a typology of 32 types.” Silver and Coleman derived their six types of nonbelievers from 59 interviews.... Read this in full at

Aaron was senior pastor in a congregation of approximately half a million people, but he still made mistakes, and one of them was colossal. One day the people wanted an idol — something physical and visible — around which to rally, and Aaron gave in. He supervised construction of the golden calf. He did not even raise a protest or urge an alternative.

Had Aaron lost his marbles? Confronted by Moses, he certainly tried to play the part of innocent bystander caught in the middle of a movement bigger than he could stop. It was as if the people had thrown him their gold, and presto! — here's this calf thing.

“‘Due to circumstances beyond my control’ may be a reasonable excuse for losing an umbrella in a hurricane, but there's no good reason to entertain pagan worship [see Exodus 32:21-24]. Aaron, spiritual leader of Israel, should have stood stronger for God’s truth. The lesson he learned carried a high price.

Aaron is an example of what can happen when we let the popular wind blow us away — far away — from God’s ideal for us. Aaron should have and could have held on. God would have seen to the rabble rebels. In this new year, when "isms" or ideologies can sometimes appear appealing, keep your loyalty rooted in the one true God.
- Source: Once-A-Day Men & Women of the Bible Devotional

When we face disappointment, rather than wallowing in it, we can pray,

Lord, I don’t understand why all this has happened. But I do know you want me to keep walking, keep looking for you, keep remembering that it’s what I do with disappointment that matters. Help me…to surrender both my memories of the past and my hopes for the future to you.”
- Source: Undaunted: Daring to Do What God Calls You to Do by Christine Caine

by Dan Wooding
The JESUS Film has aired on SAT-7, since 1996, when SAT-7 only broadcast a few hours a day in North Africa. It was in those early days that Reem Kairouan, living in Tunisia, saw the JESUS Film on SAT-7 and began her faith journey.

And she has been one of many that have tuned into this unique satellite television outreach that is providing hope and encouragement to the believers of the Middle East, North Africa, and many other surrounding countries.

According to a news story from SAT-7 USA (, for the past 17 years, through SAT-7, the JESUS Film has led countless people to the saving knowledge of Christ’s sacrifice.... Read this in full at

I don't just commit sin. Apart from God, I am sinful. My problem is not just what I do; it's who I am without His nature.”
- Beth Moore

Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.”
- Ephesians 4:32 (CEB)

Words: William W. How, in Church Hymns, by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1871.
Music: Elmhurst, Edwin D. Drewett, 1887

O heavenly Fount of light and love,
Adoring praise to Thee we pay;
Pour down, blest Spirit, from above
Fresh streams of grace this day.

Thou, o’er the everlasting Son
Hovering with wings of living light
Anointed Israel’s Champion
To fight the awful fight.

At Pentecost Thou camest down
As sound of rushing wind went by,
With tongues of heavenly fire to crown
That glorious company.

Thou on each new-born child of grace
Dost now in hidden power descend
To strengthen for life’s weary race,
To comfort and defend.

Thou in each meek and lowly heart,
With streams of living waters bright,
Sweet Fount of strength and gladness art,
Fresh Spring of life and light.

Thee, Spirit blest, All-Holy One,
In songs of triumph we adore,
For, with the Father and the Son,
Thou reignest evermore.

>from NetHymnal at

Ask for everything you can ask in Christ's name, i.e. everything desirable by a man who is in Christ's kingdom of God, by a man who lives for it at heart, everything in tune with the purpose and work of the kingdom in Christ. If you are in that kingdom, then pray freely for whatever you need or wish to keep you active and effective for it, from daily bread upwards and outwards.”
- P. T. Forsyth (1848-1921), The Soul of Prayer [1916], Regent College Publishing, 2002, p. 76


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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Are you trying to fight today's battles with tomorrow's strength?
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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