Connecting man to man to God
For week of August 11, 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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“The first thing to know about your word is that it is true and that all your righteous rules last forever.”
- Psalm 119:160 (CEB)
“No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has.”
- Henry Ward Beecher
A MAN'S PERSPECTIVE: THE HISTORY OF LUST
by Ike Miller
For Christian men, it can be difficult to address lust without perpetuating abuses and wounding our sisters along the way. In a former post, I confronted the blame-shifting that unfairly burdens women when it comes to issues of lust and modesty.
When the conversation gets framed in these terms, we men exhibit that we are our father's — Adam's — children. On no other issue do we men so unabashedly and inappropriately play our father's card: "God, it was that woman you put here."
The issues of lust and immodesty date back almost to the very beginning, stemming from a disruption of the relationship God intended for women and men. Digging deeper into Adam and Eve's unity—and disunity—helps shape our current understanding of male lust.... Read this in full at
WHY PORNOGRAPHY IS DANGEROUS
by James D. Conley, STL
Few of us can imagine or understand the depravity of Ariel Castro’s heart. Castro is the Cleveland man who recently was arrested for kidnapping, raping, and imprisoning three women for over a decade. He impregnated the women he held captive and beat one of them until she miscarried. Ariel Castro is obviously sick, obviously broken, obviously enslaved by the forces of chaos and evil in a way that few of us have ever witnessed.
Ariel Castro belongs in prison. Last week, he was sentenced to serve more than one thousand years. But despite the depths of his depravity, when Castro stood shackled in a Cleveland courtroom, he confessed a common American problem. “I believe I am addicted to porn,” he said, “to the point where I am impulsive, and I just don’t realize that what I am doing is wrong.”
Pastors everywhere have heard those words before. Probably many times. Pornographic addiction is powerful, destructive, and all too typical. Ariel Castro’s addiction is no excuse for his actions, but it points to a deep and sobering reality: Free, anonymous, and ubiquitous access to pornography is quietly transforming American men and American culture.... Read this in full at
CHARACTER COUNTS: BUILDING A LIFE THAT PLEASES GOD CHARACTER
by Charles Swindoll
The word stirs a variety of feelings: admiration, confusion, or even guilt. Whether it’s offering encouragement to a downtrodden friend or living out the truth in an antagonistic environment, character impacts every aspect of our lives. Our character dictates the kinds of decisions we make and determines how we will treat those around us. In the ups and downs of life, godly character serves as a stabilizing force, keeping us pointed toward Christ. At the following link, click and listen to “Character Counts: Building a Life That Pleases God”
SPIRITUAL MENTORING TIP #2: Ask your mentor lots of questions.
by Clare De Graaf
Your mentor is a wealth of knowledge and experience. But, sometimes you have to “unlock” the storehouse. Here are some great questions you might consider asking your mentor over the course of your relationship.
* What are some of the most important decisions you’ve made in your life?
* What are a few of the best decisions you’ve ever made?
* What are some of the worst decisions you’ve made?
* Do you have any suggestions or ideas for being a more godly husband or wife?
* Do you have any suggestions or ideas for being a more godly father or mother?
* How can I honor my parents better?
* What are some of the dangers or temptations I should be on the lookout for in the coming years?
* As you look back, is there anything you would do differently if you could return to my age?.... Read this in full at
DON’T BE SILENT
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), the world-famous violinist, earned a fortune with his concerts and compositions, but he generously gave most of it away. So, when he discovered an exquisite violin on one of his trips, he wasn't able to buy it. Later, having raised enough money to meet the asking price, he returned to the seller, hoping to purchase that beautiful instrument. To his great dismay, it had been sold to a collector.
Kreisler made his way to the new owner's home and offered to buy the violin. The collector said it had become his prized possession, and he would not sell it. Keenly disappointed, Kreisler was about to leave when he had an idea. "Could I play the instrument once more before it is consigned to silence?" he asked. Permission was granted, and the great virtuoso filled the room with such heart-moving music that the collector's emotions were deeply stirred. "I have no right to keep that to myself," he exclaimed. "It's yours, Mr. Kreisler. Take it into the world, and let people hear it."
We have a message to share. Our heavenly Father created us as exquisite instruments, and the beautiful music we are to make is the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. We were made to be played.
- Turning Point Daily Devotional, 7-26-06
TAKING A MODERN-DAY SABBATH
by Christine Organ
s a child, my family didn’t specifically observe the Sabbath. Nonetheless, Sundays were clearly different than the rest of the week. The day was slower, quieter, calmer. The day was sacred, with a cadence and rhythm all its own.
Yet somewhere and somehow, things changed. Weekends became about chores and errands, laundry and grocery shopping, emails and work projects. Sunday became just another workday, exacerbated by an addiction to technology and social media. Sundays — and by extension, the entire week — seemed to lose their serenity and healing quality, and as a result, I lost a sense of connection to family, to self and to God.
A few months ago, I realized that I had a deep longing to create a sacred temporal space; a few hours or even a whole day when time could move at its own pace and I could escape the noise, the obligations and self-imposed anxieties, the constant comparisons and one-upmanship and the pressures to do and achieve and obtain.... Read this in full at
HAVE ARCHAEOLOGISTS FOUND KING DAVID’S PALACE?
by Andy Rau
Has a palace belonging to King David been discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa? What are Christians to make of sensational claims like this one?
It’s hard to discern the significance of impressive-sounding archaeological finds when most of us aren’t scholars or archaeologists ourselves. And after years of sensational claims that didn’t pan out (the Jesus Tomb, the crucifixion nail, the “lost gospels,” etc.), it’s natural to be skeptical.... Read this in full at
A PIECE OF JESUS' CROSS? RELICS UNEARTHED IN TURKEY
Turkish archaeologists say they have found a stone chest in a 1,350-year-old church that appears to contain a relic venerated as a piece of Jesus' cross.
The artifacts were unearthed during a dig at Balatlar Church in Turkey's Sinop Province, and displayed by excavation team leader Gülgün Köro?lu. “We have found a holy thing in a chest. It is a piece of a cross," the Hurriyet Daily News quoted her as saying.
Köro?lu, an art historian and archaeologist at Turkey's Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, said the team suspects that the chest served as a symbolic coffin for the relics of a holy person — and that the fragments within it were associated with Jesus' crucifixion.... Read this in full at
CHINESE UNDERGROUND CHURCH HERO OF FAITH SAMUEL LAMB DEAD AT 88
Every Sunday after the service Chinese pastor Samuel Lamb (also known as Samuel Lam) invited foreign guests into his office and immediately began to tell the story of his life, which he summarized in the one "holy principle" of "more persecution, more growth."
He experienced Communist oppression and spent more than 20 years in prison. He also experienced God's response: an amazing growth of the Church in China, now estimated at 80 million. Lamb became a hero of the Christian faith for millions of believers inside and outside of China. He passed away on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the age of 88.... Read this in full at
DONALD RUMSFELD'S GOLDEN RULE
By Nicholas G. Hahn III
Donald Rumsfeld is normally tight-lipped about religion. When President George W. Bush asked him to begin a cabinet meeting with a prayer, it came as a surprise, as he "had never been one to wear my faith on my sleeve," he admits in his memoir Known and Unknown.
Still, Rumsfeld says he prayed fervently. It was, after all, September 14, 2001.
"Ever faithful God," Rumsfeld began, "We seek Your special blessing today for those who stand as sword and shield, protecting the many from the tyranny of the few. Our enduring prayer is that You shall always guide our labors and that our battles shall always be just." .... Read this in full at
‘FITTEST MAN ON EARTH’: CROSSFIT CHAMP RICH FRONING DETAILS HOW FAITH IN JESUS AND TOUGH LOVE HELPED HIM WIN
For the third year in a row, Rich Froning is the biggest name in CrossFit. He’s once again been crowned the “Fittest Man on Earth” — the title given to the man who beats competitors at the highly-rigorous and heavily-competitive CrossFit Games (the winner also walks away with $250,000).
On August 2, the committed Christian told TheBlaze about his latest win, detailing how faith sustained him through a very tough battle.... Read this in full at
THE CIRCLE MAKER – VIDEO BIBLE STUDY
by Mark Batterson
God loves to make promises. He invites us to draw a circle around those promises and pray until we see them become a reality. God is inviting you and me into the adventure of seeing His dreams come true in this world. This happens as we make the decision to become circle makers.
People today love extreme sports! We live in a world where the boundaries of human ability and capacity continue to be pressed and stretched. People compete in Ironman Triathlons where they swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and then run a full marathon of 26.2 miles.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“Access to your words gives light, giving simple folk understanding.”
- Psalm 119:130 (CEB)
“Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things - I am tempted to think- there are no little things.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
3 REMINDERS WHEN EVALUATING YOUR LEADERSHIP
by The John Maxwell Company.
Influence can make or break the success of your ability to lead well and determine the direction of a company itself. However, we too often move through the motions without thinking about ways to increase in influence.
Leadership is tough. Growing is hard. Any leader will tell you that the giving and receiving of both criticism and encouragement from others is crucial for leadership growth.
How are you intentional in these areas? How well do you receive it?
Today, we challenge you to think of the following.... Read this in full at
THE PUBLIC LISTENER: A CONVERSATION WITH RADIO HOST KRISTA TIPPETT
On more than 200 National Public Radio stations every week, broadcast journalist Krista Tippett hosts On Being (formerly Speaking of Faith), a show dedicated to "tracing the intersection between theology and real life." While many guests are outside the Christian tradition, the show has arguably helped demolish the misinformed stereotypes about evangelical Christians sloppily dispersed by other media.
In this interview, Tippett speaks about how her faith informs her work — what she calls "a ministry of listening rather than of preaching" — and why the best Christians today doing the most loving, faithful work in Jesus' name are the ones we'll never read about.
Q: On Being went to a weekly national format in 2003. In the past decade, how have you seen the public discourse about religion in America change?
A: I'd go back a little bit. I had been a journalist in Europe and then went to divinity school in the early 1990s, and came out as somebody who had the perspective of a journalist and was now also theologically educated.
At that point, you had Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson speaking not just for evangelical Christianity or Christianity; they were the voices of religion in America. They made for great sound bites; they were exciting in that way.
That was a big piece of the motivation for me: This [religious] part of life is so much bigger and more diverse than that. Evangelical Christianity is more diverse than that. That was my starting point.... Read this in full at
BELIEFS SHAPE BEHAVIOR
Religion is a way of life, explains Rev. Cynthia Campbell, pastor of Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville and former president of McCormick Theological Seminary. She says Christianity is not just a set of ideas. It’s also about practices
“Christianity is a tradition that holds together beliefs and practices,” she continued. “Beliefs matter. We always want to try to express it as clearly and correctly as we can.”
The book of James admonishes Christians to “be doers of the word and not hearers only” (1:22), Campbell said. This means “your understanding of who God is will shape your behavior. All that thinking is designed to lead us into a new way of life.” .... Read this in full at
AT CHURCH, A GROWING EMPHASIS ON CHARITY BEYOND PASSING THE PLATE
For thousands of years, worshippers have made offerings and supported charities and evangelism efforts. But as Christians try to reconcile Chicago's shootings, poverty and homelessness with their religious duties, more churches are sending their faithful out to minister on an individual level.
Scott Thumma, a Hartford Seminary professor, said such calls for Christians to address pressing needs within their communities are becoming more common across the country. In just over a decade, the percentage of large churches he surveyed that said their congregations were "working for social justice" increased from about 1 in 3 to about 6 in 10.
Such work fulfills a clear doctrinal purpose, Thumma wrote in an email: It answers the Bible's mandate that believers "serve others, offer a cup of water to the thirsty and food to the hungry." .... Read this in full at
THE SUPREME MESSAGE
“The phrase ‘Word of God’ as used in the Bible itself, notably in the opening sentences of the Fourth Gospel, is an English translation of a Greek word, Logos, which was in wide use among philosophers at the time the New Testament was written. It connotes the creative, outgoing, self-revealing activity of God. The Logos was not a particular divine utterance, but God's overall message to mankind. It was not necessarily communicated verbally in speech or writing. Indeed, the whole point of Christianity is that the supreme communication of the Word took place when it was expressed through a human life and personality in Jesus Christ.”
- Louis Cassels (1922-1974), Your Bible, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967, p. 3
'ADVENTURES IN ODYSSEY' CO-CREATOR LAUNCHES NEW DRAMA ON KICKSTARTER
Award-winning writer/producer Phil Lollar has launched a crowdfunding campaign for his new independent audio drama, Iliad House, on Kickstarter.com (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1605189113/iliad-house-an-audio-drama). Lollar's previous work includes being a co-creator of Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey, which now has 20 million products in distribution.
"I honestly believe that audio drama is the best storytelling device ever created, which is why I've chosen to present Iliad House in that format," Lollar said. Lollar is targeting the Christian-themed show at 8-14-year-olds, while promising that it will entertain the whole family.... Read this in full at
DALLAS HEART SURGEON USES MEDICINE AS MINISTRY
At 83, Carl Smith found himself facing quadruple-bypass surgery and the real possibility that he might not survive.
Within hours on this spring morning, Dr. Mark Pool would temporarily bring Smith's heart to a stop in an attempt to circumvent its blocked passages.
And to help his patient confront the uncertainty, Pool did something unusual in his profession: He prayed with him.
The power of healing: Medicine and religion have both had their day, and they haven't always been able to coexist. But as today's medical treatment becomes more holistic, doctors are increasingly taking spirituality into account.... Read this in full at
MAN BORN WITHOUT HANDS IS ENGINEER FOR NASCAR'S MOST WINNING ORGANIZATION
Richie Parker, 30, grew up with a chorus of doubters telling him what he couldn't do without hands - ride a bike, drive a car or find a good job. But Parker never listened, and today he drives his own car and is a respected engineer for NASCAR's most winning organization, Hendrick Motorsports.
"Every step of the way in life there have been people who say I can't do things. Said that I couldn't ride a bicycle, there have been people who said that I couldn't live on my own. Couldn't get a good job and support myself or I couldn't go to college and graduate," the inspiring engineer told ESPN in a recent interview.... Read this in full at
NEW SURVEY EXAMINES PUBLIC’S VIEWS ON AGING, MEDICAL ADVANCES AND RADICAL LIFE EXTENSION
If new medical treatments could slow the aging process and allow people to live decades longer, to at least 120 years old, would you want to have the treatments? A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that most Americans (56%) say “no” – they, personally, would not want treatments to enable dramatically longer lives. But roughly two-thirds (68%) think that most other people would choose to live to 120 and beyond.
The survey explores the public’s attitudes toward aging, medical advances and what some biomedical researchers call “radical life extension” – the possibility that scientific breakthroughs someday could allow people to live much longer than is possible today. Overall, more Americans think dramatically longer life spans would be bad (51%) than good (41%) for society.... Read this in full at
REIMAGINING DEATH FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
by Leslie Katz
What will become of us when we die? For many, it's a tough and frightening question. For some, it also presents an intriguing design challenge.
This year, 2,050 designers from 96 countries participated in Design for Death, a contest organized by the site Designboom to reimagine mourning and burial for the 21st century.
In a world where some countries hardly have room for the living, let alone the dead, it's not surprising to see new solutions usurping traditional burial practices. Among some of the more futuristic developments in death care, we've looked at liquid cremation that turns bodies into a sterile fluid; robot arms that retrieve urns and place them in mourning rooms for prayers; and even headstones that stream messages from the grave straight to your cell phone.... Read this in full at
ONE APPOINTMENT WE HAVE TO KEEP - EXPERIENCING LIFE TODAY
by Pete Briscoe
If you're like me, there are some appointments that you would just as soon not keep. The dentist for a root canal, the accountant for taxes, the doctor for the famous "after 50" physical…. Yes, it feels like we should avoid them like the plague.
I think funerals are like that — and not just other people's funerals (which remind us of our own mortality), but our own funerals. Wouldn't we just as soon avoid that appointment, too? Maybe; but maybe not. Maybe we're afraid of death only because we aren't certain about what lies on the other side, when we meet Jesus face to face. Maybe if we knew the truth and believed it, it would change our perspective. Let's take a look: .... Read this in full at
WORLD'S TOP COURT ASKED TO OVERTURN JESUS' CRUCIFIXION
A Kenyan lawyer is suing Israel and Italy for human rights violations committed against Jesus more than 2,000 years ago.
According to Kenya's Citizen News, Dola Indidis has petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to "declare that the trial of Jesus and the subsequent nailing on the cross went against the principles of fair trial and should therefore be declared a mistrial."
"Evidence today is on record in the Bible," Indidis told Citizen News, "and you cannot discredit the Bible."
According to a support letter posted on his Facebook page, Indidis is "convinced that Pontius Pilate erred in law by convicting and sentencing Jesus Christ while acknowledging his own lack of jurisdiction and the accused's innocence. I petitioned the International Court of Justice in The Hague to have the conviction and sentence quashed." .... Read this in full at
USA STATE DEPT. SEEKS TO BROADEN RELIGIOUS REACH
The State Department has announced the creation of its first office dedicated to outreach to the global faith community and religious leaders.
The project, born in part of recommendations by its working group on religion and foreign policy, will be headed by Shaun Casey, a United Methodist member and professor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington.
Casey, an activist and scholar on religion and politics, said he expects the office to focus on three areas: religion and development, international religious freedom, and conflict prevention and resolution.
“I’m not naive,” Casey said. “I understand that this territory is fraught. But having said that, I think we ignore the political impact of religion at our peril.” .... Read this in full at
“You are what you think about all day long.”
- Robert Schuller
VERSE TO PONDER
“The LORD proclaims, the LORD who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the LORD: Call to me and I will answer and reveal to you wondrous secrets that you haven’t known.”
- Jeremiah 33:2-3 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: OLD TIME POWER
Words & Music: Paul Rader, 1917
We are gathered for Thy blessing,
We will wait upon our God;
We will trust in Him Who loved us,
And Who bought us with His blood.
Spirit, now melt and move
All of our hearts with love,
Breathe on us from above
With old time power.
We will glory in Thy power,
We will sing of wondrous grace;
In our midst, as Thou has promised,
Come, O come, and take Thy place.
Bring us low in prayer before Thee,
And with faith our souls inspire,
Till we claim, by faith, the promise
Of the Holy Ghost and fire.
>from NetHymnal at
“Prayer is something deeper than words. It is present in the soul before it has been formulated into words. And it abides in the soul after the last words of prayer have passed over our lips.
“Prayer is an attitude of our hearts, an attitude of mind. Prayer is a definite attitude of our hearts toward God, an attitude which He in heaven immediately recognizes as prayer, as an appeal to His heart. Whether it takes the form of words or not, does not mean anything to God, only to ourselves.”
- O. Hallesby (1879-1961), Prayer, London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1943, reprint, Augsburg Fortress Books, 1975, 1994, p. 16
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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A friend is someone who reaches for your hand, but touches your heart.
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, email@example.com 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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