Connecting man to man to God
For week of August 18, 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)
“My dear friends, since we have these promises, let’s cleanse ourselves from anything that contaminates our body or spirit so that we make our holiness complete in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1 (CEB)
“I am convinced that the first step towards attaining a higher standard of holiness is to realize more fully the amazing sinfulness of sin.” J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), Holiness [1877, 1879], Sovereign Grace Publishers, reprint, 2001, p. 9
6 WAYS TO KICKSTART YOUR DEVOTIONAL LIFE
by Stephen Altrogge
There are times when, for whatever reason, our devotional life goes stale. Bible reading seems like a colossal chore, our prayers feel tepid and weak, and our love for God ebbs. We feel like we are stuck in a spiritual rut, like we don’t have any soul traction, like we’re just spinning our spiritual wheels. These times of staleness can be incredibly frustrating and discouraging.
Are you in a spiritual rut? Here are a few practical tips to breathe new life and vigor back into your devotional life.... Read this in full at
OUR TELESCOPES, GOD’S MICROSCOPE
by Leah C. Morgan
If the distance from the earth to the sun were represented by the thickness of a single sheet of paper, do you know how close we are to the next nearest star? Using the same scale, we would need a 71-foot stack of paper to span the distance. We would need 310 miles of stacked paper of that normal thickness to reach outside our galaxy. And 31-million miles of stacked paper to reach the end of the galaxy known to us.
If the sun were hollow, it could hold 1,300,000 earths. But the star Antares could hold 64-million suns! And the star Hercules could hold 100-million Antares; and the star Epsilon could hold 125-million Hercules.
“What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?” .... Read this in full at
YOU DON’T HAVE TO SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM YOUR PROTÉGÉ HAS
by Clare De Graaf
When I talk to people about being a mentor, clearly one of their greatest fears is that they’re not knowledgeable enough to answer every question they imagine will come up. Relax – you don’t have to!
I’ve observed there are stages in almost every mentor’s journey. Here’s what will likely happen in yours.... Read this in full at
EXCERPT FROM “SPIRITUAL INFLUENCE: THE HIDDEN POWER BEHIND LEADERSHIP”
by Mel Lawrenz
Influencers are people who have a grasp of something under the surface, something hidden, which becomes the driving force of change in the world. Influence is power. Awesome power. With it some influencers destroy, others save. And influence comes out of the core reality of who the influencer is. People whose foundation is their faith in God have an extraordinary opportunity to do something more than influence people and organizations from their personal opinions, preferences, and goals.
They can connect faith to their influence, whether their work is in the realm of business or the church or education or any other endeavor. They want to connect faith and influence because they know that is the way to effect enduring change, and they believe God is the ultimate influencer.
This book is about the dynamics
Many definitions of leadership in recent years include the idea of influence. But the discussions rarely penetrate to the deeper meaning of influence. When used most simplistically, influence means persuading people, or selling them, or getting them to march to a certain drumbeat. But it is so much more than that.
A better concept of leadership includes what happens both deep on the inside and on the outside. Influence is about the hidden forces that make visible results that have an enduring effect. It ties into the core spiritual realities believers know about because they understand the Creator of the universe to be the underlying power and influence behind all things good. Leaders who want to effect enduring change will take the time to understand the power and subtleties of influence. They are not content just to see things happen; they want to see people, organizations, movements, and even culture itself shaped in ways that last for a lifetime. Today leadership is so much more than the building of organizations. Leadership includes influencers in education, culture, the arts, community life, and much more.... Read this in full at
ANNOUNCING THE “C. S. LEWIS DAILY” NEWSLETTER
by Andy Rau
When and how did you first “meet” the author and theologian C.S. Lewis? For me, it was through The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and its sequels, which I fell in love with as a child (and still appreciate today). In the years that followed, I moved on to Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and other books — all of them thoughtful and challenging explorations of faith. Each spoke to me at a different point in my mental and spiritual growth.
You might have your own “C. S. Lewis story”—a favorite Lewis book you’ve re-read so many times it’s physically falling apart; your own memories of Lewis insights that challenged you just when you needed to be challenged. C.S. Lewis is one of those authors you can truly grow up with — because he wrote books suitable for such a wide range of audiences, his writing is accessible to everyone from children to adults, from faithful Christians to questioning skeptics.
That is why we’re truly excited to announce C. S. Lewis Daily, a new everyday newsletter on Bible Gateway that features short, provocative insights drawn from all across Lewis’ written work.... Read this in full at
WHEN THE DOCTOR CALLS
by Gordon MacDonald
I have spent my whole life helping other people face doctor-call moments like these. Now it was my turn. And as the doctor went through further details of my situation, the very first thing that began to surge through my mind (the very first thing!) was: "Big G God is our refuge and strength comma, a very present help in trouble period. Big T therefore will not we fear period. Period. Period. Period.
I described this boyhood experience for this reason.
When I was a teenager, a brilliant and godly man pumped my friends and me full of Scripture. You could say that he bullied us with all that insistence on punctuation, spelling, and capitalization. But now his effort is paying off. Psalm 46 is the first thing I have turned to so that I can order my private world and enlarge the spiritual work I will have to do in the next months.... Read this in full at
THE UNCERTAINTIES OF LIFE AND THE CERTAINTY OF DEATH
by Bill Ellis
Life is filled with uncertainties. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the word uncertain as “questionable; problematical and doubtful.” It is not steady or constant.
Many things in life are uncertain. Somebody said, “Only two things are certain -- taxes and death.” Taxes hit us every year. Death will come but once. The important thing is to be ready when that moment arrives.
People die at all ages. Some die as young children, as teenagers or in their twenties. Others live much longer. I have known people who lived for more than 100 years. The Bible records that people once lived to be hundreds of years old.... Read this in full at
HOW DO PEOPLE ACTUALLY HEAR FROM GOD?
by Cliff Gehret
My “Samuel experience” occurred in college. God began to personally guide me in unexpected ways: emotional and mental impressions, visions, dreams and specific encouragement from others.
My newfound excitement accompanied me as I went home for a college break. I said to my dad, “You never told me God could personally speak!” He said, “Sure, of course He can.” I was amazed at the frank and normal way he responded to my question. Here I thought I was going insane.
And maybe I was. Does God still speak to people in these subjective ways, or are those kinds of experiences (visions, dreams, impressions) taboo for 21st century Christians? Had I wandered into theological error?
Christians usually fall into two broad categories. Those in track A consider wisdom (common sense), precautionary prayer (praying to God about what you plan on doing in case it might not be a good idea), scripture (obeying orthodox teachings) and heeding mature, godly counsel the definitive way in which God directs.... Read this in full at
"LORD OF THE RINGS" ACTOR TALKS ABOUT HIS FAITH JOURNEY
Sean Astin, an actor featured in memorable films for the last decade, recently opened up about his Christian faith and the path that brought him there. Astin, 42, played such critically acclaimed characters as Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as the leading roles in Rudy, The Goonies and Memphis Belle. Astin's newest project is a faith-based family comedy titled Mom's Night Out, directed by the brothers who directed October Baby, Jon and Andy Erwin.
Astin's faith journey has brought him through the religions of his parents, actors John Astin (The Addams Family) and Patty Duke, who were a Buddhist and Catholic, respectively. According to The Blaze, Astin has said in the past that he doesn't wear his faith "on his sleeve," but he affirmed his Christianity during an interview with BeliefNet. Today, Astin is a Lutheran, having been officially baptized along with his wife at a church in Indiana.... Read this in full at
'FITTEST MAN ON EARTH' CREDITS CHRIST WITH IMPROBABLE THREE-PEAT
Rich Froning has reason to boast. A few weeks ago, he was crowned "Fittest Man on Earth" by the uber-popular CrossFit exercise program—for the third year in a row.
But his "boasting" actually focuses on a tattoo on his torso referencing Galatians 6:14: "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
He got the tattoo after coming in second at CrossFit's rigorous fitness competition in 2010. He was devastated. So he reevaluated his life — and realigned his priorities around his Christian faith. (He also wrote verses of Jesus' crucifixion on his shoes for motivation.) .... Read this in full at
WHY WE CALL GOD 'FATHER'
by Simon Chan
Feminine images are used throughout Scripture to describe God's compassionate and loving nature. Examples include the frequent images of God protecting and comforting his children (Isa. 66:12–13; Hos. 11:1–4). But it's important to note that God is never addressed as Mother. This phenomenon is unique compared with the cultures surrounding the original biblical writers. Most ancient Near Eastern societies had a goddess as the main cult figure or at least to complement a male god — Asherah in Canaan, Isis in Egypt, Tiamat in Babylon. If patriarchy is responsible for cultures portraying God as male, then we would expect goddess worship to reflect a matriarchal society — one in which women are given superior status or at least are equal to men. But this is not the case. Even today, many societies devoted to goddess worship remain oppressive toward women. Devotion to the goddess Kali in Hinduism, for instance, has never resulted in better treatment of women, even among Kali devotees.
We could even say that Israel succumbed to an idea of God that was rather against her natural disposition. Left to themselves, the Israelites would have ended up worshiping the Baals and Asherahs—Canaanite fertility gods and goddesses. Israel's prophets singled out idolatry for fierce denunciation because its people were constantly tempted to do just that. But Israel's idea of God's fatherhood bucked a common trend in the ancient world. Hence, it could not have been an Israelite invention, but rather the result of a long history of living under the revelation of God. It is the church's continuity with this narrative of Israel that would lead eventually to the uniquely Christian doctrine of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.... Read this in full at
THE SECRET TO A LASTING SATISFACTION
by Wayne Stiles
Have you ever noticed how we dedicate so much time and money to feed feelings that last only a moment?
We plunk down 20 bucks for a movie (and even more for popcorn), and it’s over in two hours. We long for that glorious vacation but come home in a week to face the same daily grind. We enjoy the zing of a new relationship or a new church fellowship only to discover it’s just like the last one.
Now, nothing’s wrong with any of these activities, per se. But when joy and satisfaction in life elude us, we need to ask an obvious question with a not-so-obvious answer: How do I deal with the futility of life when my satisfaction always fades? .... Read this in full at
ASSEMBLIES OF GOD DEFIES DENOMINATIONAL DECLINE
The Assemblies of God, a denomination rooted in rural and small town America, appears to have leaped into the 21st century with dramatic results.
At its General Council meeting Aug. 5-9, the denomination touted its formula for defying the seemingly irreversible decline of other religious groups: contemporary music, arts and high-tech quality communication, outreach to young people, immigrants, and ethnic minorities.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“We are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.” Ephesians 2:10 (CEB)
“When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy.” Corrie Ten Boom
THE DARK SIDE OF WIVES SUBMITTING TO HUSBANDS
by J. Lee Grady
Christian teaching on male headship is often used as a weapon against women. This abuse must be confronted.
I've heard so many sickening versions of this scenario. In Kenya, several women told me their AIDS-infected husbands often raped them — and then their pastors told them they must submit to this treatment. In some parts of India, even some pastors believe it is acceptable to beat their wives if they argue with them or show any form of disrespect. And in some conservative churches in the United States, women are told that obedience to God is measured by their wifely submission — even if their husbands are addicted to alcohol or pornography or if they are involved in adulterous affairs.
This distortion of biblical teaching has plunged countless Christian women into depression and emotional trauma. I'm not sure which is worse: the harsh words they hear from their husbands or the perverse way the Bible is wielded as a leather belt to justify domestic abuse. Here are 3 truths we must uncover in order to solve this problem:.... Read this in full at
WHAT THE '6 TYPES OF ATHEISTS' MEAN FOR CHRISTIAN OUTREACH
by George Yancey
As Christians we know what it feels like to be stereotyped. Despite our commonalities, we recognize the great diversity among our faith, so we should be sympathetic to the recent efforts by researchers to document various types of religious non-belief.
Not all nonbelievers — be they atheists, agnostics, humanists, secularists, or some mixture of all of these identities — are identical, and we are mistaken if we develop a singular, cookie-cutter approach in our interactions with them. Just as we do not want to be reduced to a simplistic stereotype, we also should not reduce our ideas about nonbelievers to some image developed through media or a few past friendships.
In a prominent new project, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga researcher Christopher Silver documented six types of nonbelievers. Here's a very, very brief recap of each:.... Read this in full at
FEEL LIKE YOU'RE IN A HOPELESS BATTLE?
“Too often we pray with low expectations. Perhaps we pray out of habit or guilt, but there are times when we don’t expect God to do anything drastic on our behalf. Perhaps we fear getting our hopes dashed, so we set low expectations for God so that he won’t fail or disappoint us.
“Joshua prayed differently. He asked God to make the sun stand still so that his warriors could continue to fight in daylight. But Joshua didn’t expect God to do all the work. He trusted God to do his part — suspend the heavenly bodies — while he did his part, which was to wield his sword and lead his soldiers tirelessly into battle. The Lord hurled hailstones on the Amorites, while the Israelites chased and fought them. Joshua didn’t passively wait for God to do everything, but he trusted God to do what God could do [see Joshua 10:1-15].
“We worship the same God who has the power to halt the progress of the sun. We do not need to settle for prayers that are weak and filled with doubt or low expectations. We might not need military or solar miracles, but we can pray in faith that God would do what only he can do: resurrect dead marriages, heal broken hearts, rescue a wayward child, transform character, lead us to a job or perform other supernatural acts. As we consider what battles seem hopeless in our lives, we can pray in faith for God to do the impossible. Perhaps we too will see the sun stand still.”
Excerpted from The NIV Life Journey Bible: Find the Answers for Your Whole Life
LET’S PLAY: MORPH YOUR CHURCH INTO A MUSEUM
by George Bullard
The long-range goal of many congregations is to turn their church into a museum. It is not intentional. It is unintentional. It is just that actions taken year after year migrates them away from thriving as a missional movement to existing as an institutionalized organization much like a museum.
They believe the pre-museum actions seem like the right thing to do. They fall prey to short-term thinking such as the following: We need that new building to keep and to attract youth. We need to refurbish the organ or install a new one. We need to revitalize our programs because they seem so comfortable to us, and worked so well in years past.
Our view of our pastor is one of chaplain. Therefore, as we get more older people we need to hire an associate chaplain. We have so many needs here that we cannot afford to give all of that money to missional engagement outside our congregation.... Read this in full at
CATHOLIC GIFT STORES SEE A (PAPAL) BULL MARKET
Centuries ago, Roman Catholics helped kick-start the market for religious articles with their insatiable demand for rosaries, icons, prayer cards and all manner of devotional objects and spiritual souvenirs.
But in recent decades, evangelical Protestants have dominated the art of religious retailing, building a national network of bookstores and stamping the Christian message on almost any item that an American consumer might want, from perfume to golf balls to flip-flops.
Now, Catholic entrepreneurs are looking to catch up, and at the 17th annual Catholic Marketing Network trade show last week (Aug. 6-9) there was a sense that the Catholic sector has a new opportunity to expand — if businesses can update their approach and broaden their inventory beyond the usual catalog of sacred objects.... Read this in full at
MEET THE HUGUENOTS
by David J. Davis
Geoffrey Treasure's book The Huguenots is a welcome challenge to oversimplifications. Written as a political history about religion, rather than a church history, the book seeks a middle ground between the affairs of the church and those of the state, treating them on equal terms. For Treasure, the Huguenots were not merely another manifestation of Protestantism; rather, they were unique to early modern France, which both kept Huguenotism alive in France for over a century and led to its demise.
16th-century France, as Treasure describes it, was a country of contradictions. It was the seat of absolutist theories of government, but it was also a "distinctively mediaeval" society, with powerful nobility that could and did threaten the monarchy. The University of Paris was a bulwark of Catholic orthodoxy, but France was also the soul of the humanist movement in northern Europe. After Spain, France was considered to be the most Catholic nation in Europe; however, the distinctly Gallican nature of French Catholicism could clash with the wishes of the pope in Rome when French political interests were at odds with theological conformity.... Read this in full at
POVERTY FIGHTING BIKE TOUR TO RIDE THROUGH NEW YORK
Over 120 cyclists who are raising money to fight global poverty by riding their bicycles across the USand Canada will be ending in New York August 24.
The Sea to Sea 2013 Bike Tour (http://www.seatosea.org/) is a 9-week, 3,900-mile cycling trek across North America designed to raise awareness and funds in support of those living in poverty around the world. The tour is sponsored by the Reformed Church in America, Partners Worldwide, and World Renew--the disaster relief arm of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
The tour began June 24 in Los Angeles and will end August 24 in Staten Island.... Read this in full at
“Since marriage is a spiritual relationship involving husband, wife, and God, prayer together keeps communication flowing among all three.” Dennis and Barbara Rainey
VERSE TO PONDER
“Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves? You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: ON ALL THE EARTH THY SPIRIT SHOWER
Words: Henry More, 1668
Music: James W. Elliott, 1874
On all the earth Thy Spirit shower;
The earth in righteousness renew;
Thy kingdom come, and hell’s o’erpower,
And to Thy scepter all subdue.
Like mighty winds, or torrents fierce,
Let it opposers all o’errun;
And every law of sin reverse,
That faith and love may make all one.
Yea, let Thy Spirit in every place
Its richer energy declare;
While lovely tempers, fruits of grace,
The kingdom of Thy Christ prepare.
Grant this, O holy God and true!
The ancient seers Thou didst inspire;
To us perform the promise due;
Descend, and crown us now with fire!
>from NetHymnal at
“Fight all your battles on your knees and you win every time.” Charles Stanley
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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Pinterest: Top 100 Bible Verses
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To the optimist, the glass is half-full. To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
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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