Connecting man to man to God
For week of September 1, 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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“You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves.”
- James 1:22 (CEB)
“Forgiveness is the precondition of love.”
- Catherine Marshall
WHY INTELLIGENT PEOPLE ARE [REPORTEDLY] LESS LIKELY TO BE RELIGIOUS
by Jordan Monge
A recent meta-analysis of studies on religion and intelligence found that, overall, people with high IQs and test scores are less likely to be religious....The most significant issue comes with the very question these researchers chose to explore. The way they framed their study suggests an implicit bias in the way scholars think about religion. "Secular researchers are likely to discover what they already suspect which is a co-relation between their values and high levels of intelligence," noted atheist sociologist Frank Furerdi. He questioned the value of such a project, where "social science research turns into advocacy research."
Furerdi's point echoes something I've previously argued about religion among academics: Intelligent people don't simply reject religion because it's wrong; they reject it because their social environments lead them to think it's wrong.
We choose which questions to grapple with on the basis of how important they are to us. When society keeps repeating that "smart folks reject religion," then religion becomes an object no longer worthy of investigation. Everyone finds questions really worth their time and leaves religion to the fools who just don't know any better.... Read this in full at
MAX LUCADO'S WAR AGAINST DESPAIR
Max Lucado is known as "America's pastor." In his 20 years of writing, he's sold 82 million books in 41 languages. He's appeared on USA Today, Larry King Live, and NBC Nightly News, and has spoken at the National Prayer Breakfast. Hallmark even has a line of greeting cards based on his writings (they've sold over 1 million cards so far).
Yet despite his national renown, he's a pastor at heart. Gentle, gracious, and filled with concern for his congregation, for over 25 years he's counseled his flock at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio through countless painful experiences — the marriage that's fallen apart, the 5-year-old who died in a car accident, the war vet burned from head to toe in Afghanistan. These experiences led to his latest book, You'll Get Through This: Hope and Help For Your Turbulent Times, an extended reflection on suffering, pain, and hope based on Joseph's story in Genesis. Jeff Haanen, executive director of Denver Institute for Faith & Work, spoke with Lucado on living through tragedy, a theology of suffering, and the hopefulness that flows from trusting in God's sovereignty.
Q: Why did you choose Joseph's story in Genesis as a basis for your book?
A: Well, I've been pastoring for a long time—over 30 years—and I've found myself wanting to give people a real hope-filled message that they can consider during tough times of their lives. And Joseph's story has always attracted me. Here's a guy who was sold into slavery, abandoned by his family, unlawfully imprisoned—yet he never gave up, he never gave in. Bitterness never took over. The way he survived made him the perfect illustration of my point in the book.... Read this in full at
EFFECTIVE LEADERS HATE “HONESTY” AND LOVE TRUTH
by Tom Harper
“Let me be honest with you.” “Honestly, here’s why it won’t work.”
Enough with the “honesty” thing! When someone tells me they’re being honest, I have my cue to dig deeper for real truth.
Sometimes the word is synonymous with “really,” or simply an emphatic yet meaningless adjective, like saying “Look, here’s what I’m saying.” Some would call it a “waste word.” However, if the context is a difficult conversation with a colleague, it’s a flag.
Honesty and truth don’t always go hand in hand. The flag raises when the meaning of “honestly” changes to “please believe me.” It becomes a plea to shift your bias in their favor.... Read this in full at
AT THE CENTER OF IT ALL
“... the fundamental pride of putting oneself at the center of the universe is the hinge upon which the entire world of the ruined self turns.”
- Dallas Willard (1935-2013), The Renovation of the Heart, Colorado Springs, Colo.: Navpress, 2002, p. 57
DEALING WITH PEOPLE WHO CONTINUE TO MAKE SINFUL AND FOOLISH CHOICES
by Clare De Graaf
It’s bad enough when you see a friend or family member make an unwise or sinful decision and then have to live with the consequences. But, it really drives me crazy when it’s a repeat offense – they’ve made that decision before, failed and are now, back at it again. It’s not like it’s a pop quiz! Can’t they see the outcomes are both predictable and preventable?
I’m guessing that God occasionally has the same feeling toward you and me.
Why? Because every habitual sin you and I commit is both predictable and preventable. And, if I were God, I’d be just as frustrated with me as I am with a friend who knows what they ought to do, but won’t.
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” James 4:17
When I ran my business and something went terribly wrong, I’d gather my management team. Together we’d analyze the problem, propose some solutions and decide how we could keep this mistake from ever happening again. And, occasionally it would happen again, so we’d tighten something else up to make a third time even less likely. The more pro-active we were, the better results we achieved.
So, why is it we don’t apply that same technique to personal holiness, particularly those sins we repeat over and over?.... Read this in full at
AN OUTDOORS GUY
During his physical examination, a doctor asked a retired man about his physical activity level.
The man said he spent 3 days a week, every week in the outdoors. "Well, yesterday afternoon was typical; I took a five-hour walk about 7 miles through some pretty rough terrain. I waded along the edge of a lake. I pushed my way through 2 miles of brambles. I got sand in my shoes and my eyes. I avoided standing on a snake. I climbed several rocky hills. I ran away from a mad mother bear and then ran away from one angry bull elk. The mental stress of it all left me shattered. At the end of it all I went home and went right to bed."
Amazed by the story, the doctor said, "You must be quite an outdoors man!"
"No," the guy replied, "I'm just a really bad golfer."
AMBASSADORS 'GOLFING FOR PEACE'
Golfers are being given a chance to not only hit a hole in one, but also support Ambassadors for Peace (www.am4peace.com), an organization whose main aim is to "foster religious tolerance, the right to faith, freedom of speech, and freedom from reprisal or persecution."
Based in Bellflower, California, the group is headed by Canadian-born Dr. Garry Ansdell, now a US citizen and senior pastor of Hosanna Christian Fellowship, and the Rev. Ameal Haddad, an American citizen who is from a Jordanian background, who co-founded the organization.... Read this in full at
HUDSON TAYLOR’S REVIVAL OF THE HEART
by Mark Ellis
James Hudson Taylor, the pioneering missionary who opened inland China to the gospel, had a remarkable experience with God that brought newfound peace and unsurpassed joy to his ministry. And it happened in a most unexpected way.
On the outside, Taylor may have appeared as a pillar of strength. But inwardly, the pressures and demands of growing ministry responsibilities were taking their toll. He had trusted God for 24 fellow workers to open the interior of China. But as the new workers entered the field, threats multiplied.... Read this in full at
GOD THE HEDONIST
[The demon Screwtape writes:] “[God, the ‘Enemy,’ is] a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a facade. Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are ‘pleasures for evermore.’ Ugh! Don’t think He has the least inkling of that high and austere mystery to which we rise in the Miserific Vision. He’s vulgar, Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least — sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.” excerpted from The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
HOURS DRAG, YEARS FLY
by Rick Marschall
It is a familiar scene this time of year. Children go off to school, some walking up the steps of the yellow school bus, some into the front doors of the school where you drop them off, some into the car, off to college. Familiar scenes; also familiar feelings, at least for parents.
Separation anxiety, of sorts. Landmarks. Turning points. All very emotional. For me, as a father, these scenes were especially emotional, because my children appeared to seldom notice anything special at all about them. Tra la la, they couldn't wait to board the buses or run for the schoolyard. The most sentiment ever displayed was my son Ted's annoyance at my insistence to photograph him on the porch, each first day of school year after year (because, um, I KNEW that some day he would cherish the memories) (that day might yet arrive).
It all threatened to get really slobbery when they went off to college. At those points I was ready to grab each of my three kids around their ankles, unwilling to let them go. They reflected no such emotion. I have chalked this all up, by the way, to their active sense of curiosity and adventure, nothing to do with me being the Weirdest Dad On the Street, proven by such episodes.... Read this in full at
WRITING FOR THE SOUL
by Jerry B. Jenkins
When a six-foot, 200-pound 15-year-old nicknamed Moose showed up at Camp Hickory for the summer of 1965 as a junior counselor to 9- and 10-year-olds, he was ready for some fun.
Moose was raised in a devout Christian home. He had become a believer as a young child, and he enjoyed everything about Sunday school and church. Looking forward to his junior year in high school, Moose was laid back about his faith. He didn't want to push his beliefs on anyone.
The highlight of the week arrived. A local church softball team came to play the staff. They were led by a superstar named Johnny Ankerberg, a collegian who was also a preacher. He was a friend of Moose's.... Read this in full at
EVENT TRANSCRIPT: RELIGION TRENDS IN THE USA
The share of Americans who claim no particular religion doubled from 7% to 14% in the 1990s, as sociologists Michael Hout and Claude Fischer reported in an influential 2002 article based on the General Social Survey. A decade later, the Pew Research Center found that one-in-five US adults (and fully a third of those ages 18-30) have no religious affiliation. Despite the rapid growth of the unaffiliated, Gallup editor Frank Newport cited survey data in a recent book to explain why he thinks “God is alive and well” in the United States. These findings raise many questions, including: What are the reasons for the rise of the religiously unaffiliated? Can organized religion thrive in the United States if growing numbers claim no religion? Is America, as a whole, becoming less religious or more religious? And how different, religiously, is the millennial generation from baby boomers and other recent generations?
On Aug. 8, 2013, the Pew Research Center brought together some of the leading experts in survey research on religion in the US for a round-table discussion with journalists, scholars and other stakeholders on the rise of the religious “nones” and other important trends in American religion.... Read the edited transcript in full at
RUSSIAN HOTELS TO HAVE A BIBLE IN EVERY ROOM
by Dan Wooding
With so much bad news coming out of Russia these days, it is surprising (and encouraging) to learn that Russian hotels are now to have Bibles in every room.
According to Teresa Neumann of Breaking Christian News, the first 6,000 copies of the New Testament and Psalms were installed in August in rooms of Izmailovo, one of the largest hotels in Moscow.
Neumann, quoting from a story in The Christian Telegraph, said, “Russia has joined with the Christian tradition in putting Bibles in hotel rooms. “The move is supported by the government's Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management Department.” .... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.”
- Hebrews 11:1 (CEB)
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
- C. S Lewis
PEOPLE WE DISAGREE WITH
“Do you have what C. S. Lewis described as "First Friends"? These are the people who resonate completely with you and reveal to you that you are not alone in this world. In a sense, such a person is your alter ego - your twin ... Hopefully, we all have friends like this ... But what about "Second Friends"? Unlike our close alter ego, Lewis describes such a person this way:
“‘[He is someone] who disagrees with you about everything ... he is not so much the alter ego as the anti-self ... Of course he shares your interests; otherwise he would not become your friend at all. But he has approached them all at a different angle. He has read all the right books but has got the wrong thing out of every one. It is as if he spoke your language but mispronounced it ... When you set out to correct his heresies, you find that he forsooth has decided to correct yours! And then you go at it ... each learning the weight of the other's punches, and often more like mutually respectful enemies than friends. Actually (though it never seems so at the time) you modify one another's thoughts; out of this perpetual dogfight a community of mind and deep affection emerge.’ [-C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life]
“God has designed us to need both kinds of friends, but in some ways our Second Friends are even more important than our First Friends. First Friends help us realize we are not aliens in this world; Second Friends ensure that we do not become mere clones. First Friends reassure us that we are fine just the way we are; Second Friends remind us that we are not. First Friends offer a sense of solidarity; Second Friends provide us with a taste of variety. With First Friends we enjoy warm companionship; with Second Friends we experience true community...
“We are designed to need relationships with people who are different from us. If this is true, where is the best place for us to develop these relationships?”
- excerpted from The Gift of Church: How God Designed the Lcoal Church to meet Our Needs as Christians by Jim Samra
THE WORD "COMPETITION" IS NOT IN THE BIBLE
by Os Hillman
Did you know there is a very common word used in our culture that you cannot find in the Bible? It is the word “competition.” Jesus never talked about it, but he did talk about the opposite of that word.
What is the greatest catalyst that allows the unsaved to make a decision for Jesus Christ? It isn't prayer, though this is important. It isn't good deeds, though deeds indicate a fruitful relationship with God. It isn't good behavior, though Christ commands us to be obedient as sons. The greatest power God's children have over darkness is unity. Jesus talked a great deal about His oneness with the Father and the importance of unity in the Body of Christ. It is the most difficult command Jesus gave to the Church, because it wars against the most evil aspect of our sin nature - independence.... Read this in full at
HOW CAN I GET STARTED READING THE BIBLE?
by Insight for Living
Question: I’m a new Christian, and I want to learn more from the Bible. I have an old Bible that belonged to my grandmother, and it’s difficult to understand. Where do I begin? How can I get more out of reading the Bible?
Answer: It’s great to hear about your desire to read God’s Word. Many Christians long to know more about the Bible, but like you, they feel frustrated because of the strange words and unusual writing styles. If you’re reading an older version, such as the King James Version, the Bible can feel particularly foreign to you. How can you begin to understand what you are reading? .... Read this in full at
TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICANS WANT THE BIBLE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The place of the Bible in public schools has been debated since the 1963 Supreme Court ruling in the consolidated cases of Abington School District v. Schempp and Murray v. Curlett. The debate continued earlier this year with the Texas Freedom Network findings, “Reading, Writing and Religion II.
But as kids head back to the hallways this week, what do Americans really believe about the role of the Bible—and its values—in public schools?
A recent study found Americans overwhelmingly (77%) believe morals and values are declining in the U.S., and 75% believe a valid reason to teach the Bible in public schools is because it would provide kids with the moral principles that are badly needed. Currently, only Arizona, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas allow elective Bible courses in public high schools. Arkansas, Wyoming, and North Carolina may soon follow suit.... Read this in full at
WHEN GOD’S WILL IS HARDER THAN WE EXPECT
by Jen Pollock Michel
Have ease and convenience also become my currency of prayer?
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done.” These are the words Jesus taught us to pray, and they bind us, like a gentle and easy yoke, to the will and glory of Another.
They don’t promise us an easy life. In fact, the Scriptures assure that following a crucified Savior is an invitation into suffering (2 Timothy 3:12, Romans 8:17, Philippians 3:10).
I, like you, would say that I want God’s will. However, what may also be true is that I want it à l’Americaine. “Yes, Lord, I will do as you ask. However, kindly impose no obligations to inconvenience or discomfort, please.”
This is the bargain I seem to want to continually strike with God. I will serve. I will give. I know to accept these as terms of God’s kingdom. However, the contractual obligation to which I insist on holding God is the preservation of my hassle-free life.... Read this in full at
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD
by Oswald Chambers
My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him. Hebrews 12:5
It is very easy to grieve the Spirit of God; we do it by despising the discipline of the Lord, or by becoming discouraged when He rebukes us. If our experience of being set apart from sin and being made holy through the process of sanctification is still very shallow, we tend to mistake the reality of God for something else. And when the Spirit of God gives us a sense of warning or restraint, we are apt to say mistakenly, “Oh, that must be from the devil.”
“Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), and do not despise Him when He says to you, in effect, “Don’t be blind on this point anymore— you are not as far along spiritually as you thought you were. Until now I have not been able to reveal this to you, but I’m revealing it to you right now.” When the Lord disciplines you like that, let Him have His way with you. Allow Him to put you into a right-standing relationship before God.... Read this in full at
COUNTING THE COST (ACCURATELY)
by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra
Open Doors counts 1,200 Christian martyrs in 2012. By contrast, the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) agrees with the Vatican on a number roughly 10 times that. Religious freedom watchdogs commonly cite both figures. Who's right? .... Read this in full at
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry on as if nothing happened.”
- Winston Churchill
VERSE TO PONDER
“I hurry to keep your commandments — I never put it off!”
- Psalm 119:60 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: PENTECOSTAL POWER
Words & Music: Charles H. Gabriel, 1912
Lord, as of old, at Pentecost,
Thou didst Thy power display,
With cleansing, purifying flame,
Descend on us today.
Lord, send the old-time power, the Pentecostal power!
Thy floodgates of blessing, on us throw open wide!
Lord, send the old-time power, the Pentecostal power!
That sinners be converted and Thy Name glorified!
For mighty works for Thee, prepare
And strengthen every heart;
Come, take possession of Thine own,
And never more depart.
All self consume, all sin destroy!
With earnest zeal endue
Each waiting heart to work for Thee;
O Lord, our faith renew!
Speak, Lord! before Thy throne we wait,
Thy promise we believe,
And will not let Thee go until
The blessing we receive.
>from NetHymnal at
“The whole duty and blessedness of waiting on God has its root in this, that He is such a blessed Being, full, to overflowing, of goodness and power and life and joy, that we, however wretched, cannot for any time come into contact with Him, without that life and power secretly, silently, beginning to enter into us and blessing us.
is Love! God's love is just His delight to impart Himself and His
blessedness to His children. Come, and however feeble you feel, just
wait in His presence. As a feeble invalid is brought out into the
sunshine to let its warmth go through him, come with all that is dark
and cold in you into the sunshine of God's holy, omnipotent love, and
sit and wait there, with the one thought: Here I am, in the sunshine
of His love. As the sun does its work in the weak one who seeks its
rays, God will do His work in you.”
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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The squeaky wheel may get the grease, or it may be the first to be replaced.
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.
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