Connecting man to man to God
For week of August 25, 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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“I always put the LORD in front of me; I will not stumble because he is on my right side.”
- Psalm 16:8 (CEB)
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.’
- Norman Vincent Peale
1 OUT OF 5 NON-CHRISTIANS IN NORTH AMERICA DOESN'T KNOW ANY CHRISTIANS
It's new research in Gordon-Conwell's Center for the Study of Global Christianity's Christianity in its Global Context, 1970-2020. Missiologist Todd M. Johnson and his team found that 20% of non-Christians in North America really do not "personally know" any Christians. That's 13,447,000 people — about the population of metropolitan Los Angeles or Istanbul — most of them in the United States.
And that number includes atheists and agnostics, many of whom are former Christians themselves and more likely to have close Christian contacts. Without that group, 60% of the non-Christian population has no relationships with Christians.
Worldwide, the numbers are much worse: more than 8 in 10 non-Christians do not personally know a Christian. But Christians only make up a third of the world's population. The United States, meanwhile, ranks in the top 10 Christian countries, with 80% of the population identifying as Christians.... Read this in full at
STATE OF THE WORLD REPORT
The Center for the Study of Global Christianity has produced a video posted of research associate Gina Zurlo Bellofatto's "State of the World" report from Bangalore. See it at
THE POWER OF GOODNESS
“The power of goodness is found in the tiny. Since the beginning, God has chosen the tiny over the large: David over Goliath, Gideon and his three hundred soldiers over thousands of Midianites, Elijah over the prophets of Baal, one sheep over ninety-nine sheep. Spirituality is about doing the tiny work of God, little acts, small responses to God's presence in our lives.”
- Mike Yaconelli (1942-2003), Messy Spirituality , Zondervan, 2007, p. 129
BIBLE GATEWAY NOW OFFERING DAILY MEDITATIONS FROM BELOVED AUTHOR C. S. LEWIS
Devotional material by one of the 20th century's all-time best-selling authors, C. S. Lewis, is now available on Bible Gateway, the world's largest Christian website (http://bg4.me/11Km8QK). Email subscription signup is at www.biblegateway.com/newsletters.
The late Oxford and Cambridge professor Lewis, acclaimed author of "The Chronicles of Narnia" and more than 30 other books, is recognized for his contributions in literary criticism, children's literature, fantasy literature and popular theology. For the first time, Bible Gateway will provide daily meditative messages to site visitors and email subscribers, pulled from eight of Lewis' most famous books.... Read this in full at
GOD IS THE FRIEND OF SILENCE
“We need to find God, and he can't be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature -- trees, flowers, grass -- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, see how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
- Mother Teresa
‘GOD IS THE BEST ARTIST’ TAKES OFF ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Sunrises and sunsets are inspiring religious adoration of a digital sort.
The notion of God as an artist is hardly new. In the Middle Ages, the concept of a divine artist, or architect, was often invoked. The biblical artists Bezalel and Oholiab are described as being “full of the spirit of God.” In Catholic art, angels often guide St. Luke’s hand when he draws the Virgin.
But when Twitter and Pinterest users take to their smartphones to snap pictures of sunrises and sunsets and attribute those “masterpieces” to God, they are exhibiting a new sort of adoration.... Read this in full at
VIDEO: RAVI ZACHARIAS: THE HIDDENNESS OF GOD
Ravi Zacharias addresses the profound question, "Why does God make it so difficult to get to know Him?" See it at
BUILD THE KINGDOM?
“Nowhere in the New Testament are we told to "build the Kingdom." It is already built "from the foundation of the world," built into the nature of reality. You "see," "enter," "proclaim," "suffer for" the Kingdom, but never "build" it. For the Kingdom is not a relativism to be built, but an absolute to be accepted, submitted to, obeyed.”
- E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973), The Christ of the American Road, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1944, p. 208
DECIPHERING THE GENDER CODE
by Brett Clemmer
It was early in our marriage. I don't remember the specifics, only that there was a major communication breakdown. We were both talking in perfectly coherent speech. But we obviously were not speaking the same language. And it wasn't the first time. Finally, it dawned on me what was going on.
I had married an alien.
There really was no other explanation possible. There was some kind of language barrier going on. Like one of us was a native English speaker, and the other learned the language later. Maybe at the Greater Intergalactic Royal Language School (GIRLS).
Sound familiar? Communication is one of the major issues couples struggle with. These communication breakdowns illustrate a larger, and more obvious, point. We're different. And while this can create difficulties at times, in the long run, our differences actually make our lives work better than if we were all the same.... Read this in full at
HOPE FOR TODAY
“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” — Matthew 28:20
“When David Livingstone returned to his native Scotland after sixteen difficult years as a missionary and explorer in Africa, his body was emaciated by the ravages of some twenty-seven fevers that had coursed through his veins during the years of his service. His left arm hung useless at his side, the result of his being mangled by a lion.
“Speaking to the students at Glasgow University, he said, ‘Shall I tell you what sustained me during the hardship and loneliness of my exile? It was Christ’s promise, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”’
“That promise is ours as well. No matter what trials we face, Christ never leaves us. He is with us every step of the way! Keep that promise before you today — and always.”
- Excerpted from Hope for Each Day by Billy Graham
“Thanksgiving is the language of heaven, and we had better start to learn it if we are not to be mere dumb aliens there.”
- A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 181
EVALUATE YOUR MENTORING PROGRESS REGULARLY
by Clare De Graaf
At the beginning of every year, I go away for a half day and pray about all the men I mentor. I also try to honestly evaluate the progress, (or lack of progress) we’ve made over the last year. Some men love to grow and stretch themselves. Others just like to “hang out”, which isn’t bad – in fact it may be their best learning style.
However, as I think of each person more deeply, and the quality of our conversation and shared experiences over the year, I get a sense of satisfaction with some and less so with others. So, I start asking questions like:
1. Do I believe “my men” are better husbands, fathers and followers of Jesus than they were a year ago?
2. What’s missing? What isn’t working? What have they failed to learn or I’ve failed to teach them?
3. Would I want this man to mentor my son, or sons-in-laws, or marry one of my daughters?
4. Have I taught each man how to study the Bible? .... Read this in full at
WHERE ARE AMATEUR AND PROFESSIONAL SPORTS HEADED?
by Bill Ellis
Daily we read unflattering stories about amateur and professional sports. Ambrose Bierce called the amateur "A public nuisance who confounds his ambition with his ability." Most of us enjoy certain sports that enable us to be a perfect fit for such a definition.
Beginning early a ball, bat and glove had a prominent place in my life. I do read with interest the sports pages of the newspaper and enjoy games on television.
When I was a child, my dad would practice with me. I had trouble knowing when to jump to catch a baseball. More than once, I was hit between the eyes.... Read this in full at
FILM SHOWS HOW 'MEANEST MAN IN FOOTBALL' TRADES ALCOHOL, VIOLENCE FOR PEACE IN GOD
by Tyler O’Neil
John Bramlett's alcohol-fueled anger got him kicked out of pro-baseball, caused him to abuse his wife and two sons, and even landed him in jail. But he became a Christian and 40 years later his story, which has reportedly inspired thousands of people, will be preserved in an upcoming documentary
"To say 'I saw a miracle happen before my eyes,' is an understatement," Andy Bramlett, son of John "The Bull" Bramlett and project manager of the documentary "Taming the Bull," told the Christian Post in an interview. His father had tried drugs, alcohol, and women, but he finally found peace in Jesus Christ.... Read this in full at
DAILY HOMEWORK POLICY
Students should not spend more than 90 minutes per night: This time should be budgeted in the following manner:
- 15 minutes looking for assignment
- 11 minutes calling a friend for the assignment
- 23 minutes explaining why the teacher is mean and just does not like students
- 8 minutes in the bathroom
- 10 minutes getting a snack
- 7 minutes checking the DVR
- 6 minutes telling parents that the teacher never explained the assignment
- 10 minutes sitting at the kitchen table waiting for Mom or Dad to do the assignment
LONG TERM HOMEWORK POLICY
- These assignments are given the night before they are due. This explains the name "long term."
- It is a long term commitment to the time it takes to finish it, which usually begins at 9:30 p.m. and ends at 11:50 p.m....or later.
- It is important that the whole family is involved in the project.
- It is imperative that at least one family member races to Walmart/Kmart for posterboard, and that at least one family member ends up in tears (does not have to be the student).
- One parent needs to stay up and complete the project. The other parent needs to call the school and leave a message that the student is out sick.
- It is not necessary to have the student's name on the assignment.
VERSE TO PONDER
“The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have God’s Son does not have life.”
- 1 John 5:12 (CEB)
“Strange, though I am saved from sin, I am not saved from sinning.”
- Martin Luther
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS ON A MISSION TO SAVE GODLESS MASSACHUSETTS
Once upon a time, Boston, MA, was a “city upon a hill.” Anyway, that’s what Governor John Winthrop told future Massachusetts residents sailing here in 1630. Evangelism practically started in this region in the 18th century, with Northampton’s Jonathan Edwards and his fiery sermons like “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Yet today only about 11% of New Englanders consider themselves evangelical Christians, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. That’s compared with 26% nationwide and more than 50% in Bible Belt states. It’s no wonder church planters are eyeing the region.... Read this in full at
OUR INTIMACY WITH CHRIST
The Church is called 'the body of Christ' because the relation between Christ and Christians is not that between a master and his servants. It is more than that. Christians are Christ's own parts. They are not only friends of Christ, they are Christ Himself. He breathes through them.”
- Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929), The Message of Sadhu Sundar Singh, B. H. Streeter & A. J. Appasamy, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1922, p. 54
.BIBLE JOINS .XXX AS NEW DOMAIN NAME FOR WEBSITES
'This is the Bible's moment to move from Gutenberg to Google,' states American Bible Society.
The creation of an .xxx domain for websites has drawn the lion's share of attention as the Internet continues to expand. But among the faith-based website endings hoping to join .com and .org in URLs, it looks like .bible will be one of the first to hit the market.
The American Bible Society (ABS) announced today that it will "facilitate the addition of countless web addresses" by offering .bible as a new top-level domain (TLD). The move by the nearly 200-year-old society, pending the finalization of a contract with the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), hopes to "accelerate global online Bible access and facilitate engagement in ways not previously possible." .... Read this in full at
“We must be watchful, especially in the beginning of the temptation. The enemy is then more easily overcome, if he is not permitted in any wise to enter the door of our hearts, but is resisted without the gate at his first knock. First there comes to the mind a bare thought of evil, then a strong imagination thereof, afterward delight, and an evil motion, and then consent. And so little by little our wicked enemy gets complete entrance, because he is not resisted in the beginning. And the longer a man is slow to resist, so much the weaker does he become daily in himself, and the enemy stronger against him.
- Thomas a Kempis
JERRY B. JENKINS, A WRITER WHO NEVER GETS ‘LEFT BEHIND’
by Dan Wooding
I thought I was a prolific writer, with some 45 books under my belt, but I am not in the same league as Jerry B. Jenkins, an American Christian novelist and biographer whose more than 180 published books have sold more than 70 million copies.
He’s had 20 titles reach the New York Times bestseller lists, seven debuting at number one. He is also well-known for his “Left Behind” books which he co-authored with Tim LaHaye, and he owns the Christian Writers Guild (http://christianwritersguild.com).
His latest novel “I, Saul” releases from Worthy Publishing August 27.
So with his prolific output of words, I asked him in a recent interview if he ever slept, and he laughed and replied, “Well, I do sleep, but I don’t sing, dance or preach. I have only one gift and I feel obligated to exercise it so, maybe, if I was a little more eclectic, I wouldn’t write so many books. My kids say I’ve written more books than I’ve ever read.” .... Read this in full at
THE FAUX RELIGION OF STEVE JOBS
by Brett Robinson,
Forget the forbidden fruit logo and the cult of Apple jokes. The legacy of Steve Jobs is anything but religious.
The Apple religion is not a religion at all, but a celebration of the self through personalized pleasure.
Reflecting on religion later in life, Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that different religions were all just doors to the same house, “sometimes I think the house exists, and sometimes I don’t.”
If Jobs had actually spoken to the pope from that Berkeley dorm room years ago, he may have heard something akin to what Pope Leo XIII said in 1885, a century before Macintosh: “To hold…that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads…to the rejection of all religion. ... And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name.”
Steve Jobs did some amazing things, but he was not a prophet. And Apple is not a religion. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.... Read this in full at
'HORRIBLE': CHRISTIAN CHURCHES ACROSS EGYPT STORMED, TORCHED
For 67 years, the Virgin Mary Church has been a peaceful refuge for Shenouda El Sayeh, much like the Giza province village of Kafr Hakim where it rests and where he has lived all those years.
But, as he swept its floors, it was painfully obvious things had changed.
The night before, a mob -- chanting against Coptic Christians such as El Sayeh and calling for Egypt to become an "Islamic state" -- had torched and looted the Virgin Mary Church. "I didn't expect this to happen," El Sayeh said.... Read this in full at
EGYPT: A TIME TO WEEP, MOURN, AND PRAY
by Elizabeth Kendal
The present crisis in Egypt is the culmination of several strategic trends, particularly the arrival of 'democracy' after decades of Saudi-sponsored Islamic radicalization in a State that is hurtling towards collapse. Egypt's population has exploded, doubling in one generation to more than 92 million. With a massive youth demographic, high unemployment (40%), high illiteracy (45%), critical food and fuel shortages and looming bankruptcy, Egypt is on the brink of becoming a failed State. Saudi money keeps Egypt afloat and the Saudis want their nemesis, the Muslim Brotherhood (which advocates republicanism), not just out of power, but crushed. In this, the interests of the Saudis, the Egyptian military and the Salafis converge.... Read this in full at
“A tried Christian grows rich by his losses, he rises by his falls, he lives by dying, and he becomes full by being emptied.”
- C. H. Spurgeon
VERSE TO PONDER
“But, the one who brags should brag in the Lord. It isn’t the person who promotes himself or herself who is approved but the person whom the Lord commends.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:17-18 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: PENTECOST IN MY SOUL
Words & Music: Thoro Harris, 1920
To me the Holy Ghost is giv’n,
An earnest of the joys of Heav’n;
Since He has taken full control,
I’ve Pentecost in my soul.
I’ve Pentecost in my soul,
I’ve Pentecost in my soul;
The Spirit has come, has come to abide;
I’ve Pentecost in my soul.
The Spirit dwells my heart within
And breaks the pow’r of pardoned sin;
Tho’ o’er my head dark clouds may roll,
I’ve Pentecost in my soul.
O holy rest! O peace sublime!
He reigns within me all the time;
He purifies and makes me whole—
I’ve Pentecost in my soul.
Then seek this Gift without delay,
Receive the Holy Ghost today;
Yield all to His benign control,
Let Pentecost fill your soul!
>from NetHymnal at
“The blood of the cross is the basis of all prayer. Through it the relationship is established that underlies all prayer. Only as I come to God through Jesus to get the sin score straightened, and only as I keep in sympathy with Jesus in the purpose of my life can I practice prayer.”
- Samuel Dickey Gordon, Quiet Talks on Prayer, Fleming H. Revell Co., 1904, p. 129
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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If lawyers are disbarred and clergy defrocked, then doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?
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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