Connecting man to man to God
For week of September 22, 2013
Issue 477

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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Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say.”
- Ephesians 4:29 (CEB)

For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.” 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In this interview, @Rev_NoRespect and @ChrchCurmudgeon share a few of their thoughts, both funny and serious, on the state of the church and what it's like to be a Twitter celebrity. If you don't already follow these two, you should.

Q: What is the main problem in the church today?

A: @Rev_NoRespect: LifeWay actually did a study of 5 declining churches over the past 15 years and the common denominator was me. In all honesty, I have to admit that I have "killed" a few churches, but only in self-defense. So if I study the data and listen to the experts, the main problem with the church today is me.

There are other problems too. Staff is a big problem. Moses' staff split the Red Sea — mine split the church. Some people say apathy is a problem, but I don't know, I really haven't put that much thought into it. Youth Ministers can be a problem too. They're like puppies. They're fun and cute but then after a while you realize you have to feed them and clean up after them. The main problem in our church is seating. We have far too much of it.

@ChrchCurmudgeon: The big problem is that people have not yet come around to my way of thinking. That said, I have been hearing for so many years now that when it comes to change, the church has to learn to cope. I believe that when it comes to change, the church has to learn to nope. That will help us keep churches to a manageable size.... Read this in full at

Thirty-six years after its launch into space, the exploratory spacecraft Voyager 1 has just now finally left Earth’s solar system and entered into deep space. It demonstrates how magnificently awesome and vast is God’s created universe. Read about Voyager 1’s accomplishment at

See photos:

by Rick Marschall
Either God exists, or He doesn't. The question this statement poses, among uncountable other speculative, philosophical, ontological, and even religious questions, is THE most basic and most important that can be asked of human beings, or any beings.

As someone who is secure in the answer, I was confronted by the question in a way that never escapes anyone's imaginings. The Voyager I spacecraft, NASA announced, has left the friendly confines of our solar system. Not the universe, of course, for that ends... well, we are not quite sure where. But Voyager has crossed the border from our Sun's "bubble" of "plasma" -- charged electrons in "empty" space whose density changed, though differently than expected, when Voyager crossed the line into interstellar "space." .... Read this in full at

This human life in God is from our point of view a particular period in the history of our world (from His birth to His crucifixion). We therefore imagine it is also a period in the history of God's own existence. But God has no history. He is too completely and utterly real to have one. For, of course, to have a history means losing part of your reality (because it has already slipped away into the past), and not yet having another part (because it is still in the future); in fact, having nothing but the tiny little present, which has gone before you can speak about it. God forbid we should think God was like that! Even we may hope not to be always rationed in that way.”
- C. S. Lewis

by Jonathan Petersen
September 19 was International Talk Like A Pirate Day, an annual event that gives everyone the opportunity to let out their inner child and have some fun. There’s even an online tutorial to learn the language. If you’ve read Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, you’ll remember words uttered by Long John Silver such as, “Matey, I thinks gold dust of you—gold dust, and you may lay to that! I took to you like pitch; you’re as smart as paint and you may lay to that!”

Now, you may be so confused by those words that you say, “It’s all Greek to me.” Which brings up (sort of) the subject of the joy of knowing different languages.... Read this in full at

by Clare De Graaf
Sooner or later, almost every family will be faced with what to do about a son, daughter, or grandchild, who has fallen in love with someone who isn’t a Christian. So, how should Christians respond?

I helped write the following letter for some parents whose daughter has fallen in love with a person who simply had no interest in Christianity. The man wasn’t of another religion, nor was he antagonistic of Christianity. He was fine with it, for other people, and even for this couple’s daughter. Christianity just wasn’t for him.... Read this in full at

A clay fragment unearthed in Jerusalem may be the oldest Hebrew inscription ever discovered in the city - and could prove that accounts of the reigns of King David and Solomon are historical fact.

Working near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar unearthed a fragment of a ceramic jar, with the earliest alphabetical written text ever uncovered in the city.

A new translation of the text suggests it may actually be in Hebrew - and could “prove” events in the Bible are true.

I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other," Mazar has said. "The Bible is the most important historical source." .... Read this in full at

by Janey DeMeo
Leslie Leyland Fields, author of Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers (Thomas Nelson), knows that nothing is worse than an unforgiving heart-especially when the unforgiveness is directed towards one's parents. Fields is an expert on the subject, and together with clinical psychologist Dr. Jill Hubbard, she brings pragmatic, biblical answers to the vicious plague of unforgiveness.... Read this in full at

by Dan Wooding
Jerry B. Jenkins’s novels have sold more than 70 million copies, qualifying him as one of the best-selling novelists of all time. In his new release, I, Saul (Worthy Publishing, Aug. 27, 2013), Jenkins presents his latest masterpiece: a compelling international thriller that catapults readers from present-day Texas to a dank Roman dungeon in AD 67, then down the dusty roads of ancient Israel, Asia, and back to Rome.... Read this in full at

Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.”
- Philippians 2:3-4 (CEB)

The sermon of your life in tough times ministers to people more powerfully than the most eloquent speaker.”
- Bill Bright

The Chicago-based evangelical Moody Bible Institute has dropped its ban on alcohol and tobacco consumption by its 600-some faculty and staff, including for those who work in its radio and publishing arms.

The change in August reflected a desire to create a “high trust environment that emphasizes values, not rules,” said spokeswoman Christine Gorz. Employees must adhere to all “biblical absolutes,” Gorz said, but on issues where the Bible is not clear, Moody leaves it to employees’ conscience.

Employees may not drink on the job or with Moody students, who are not allowed to drink while in school.... Read this in full at

by Ed Stetzer
The megachurch has been a topic of interest for years. There are more every year and their growth rate is increasing. In other words, it's not just that there are more, their rate of increase is growing.

Yet, when most people think of megachurches they not only think of mega-numbers, but also mega-facilities.

I thought it worth a moment to consider megachurch BUILDINGS—and what trends in such buildings might mean. Interestingly, some mega churches have begun to think differently about their facilities. These trends are not only fascinating, but I also find them encouraging several ways.

The last church I pastored had a 3,000 seat sanctuary. That's a big room. But, what is interesting is that the church would not build that building if they could do it again—and that's a theme I consistently hear.... Read this in full at

Everyone has an opinion about why Millennials are leaving the church. It's a controversial topic, one that Barna Group's researchers have been examining for a decade.

The topic was reignited this summer when blogger and author Rachel Held Evans wrote a piece about why Millennials leave church. Her editorial struck a nerve, sparking response pieces all across the web and generating more than 100,000 social media reactions in the first week alone.

Yet whatever one’s personal view of the reasons behind Millennials staying or going, one thing is clear: the relationship between Millennials and the Church is shifting. Barna Group’s researchers have been examining Millennials’ faith development since the generation was in its teen years—that is, for about a decade. During that time, the firm has conducted 27,140 interviews with members of the Millennial generation in more than 200 studies.

And while Barna Group’s research has previously highlighted what’s not working to keep Millennials at church, the research also illuminates what is working — and what churches can do to engage these young adults.... Read this in full at

by Tom Ehrich
Technology is bringing us what we need — tools to do our work, manage our lives and institutions, and communicate with others — but it is the actual pursuits of life that occupy us.

That’s why consumers are slow to upgrade their smartphones and largely shrug at marginally faster computers, wearable computing, super-sized television monitors, phablets and tablets, and location-based applications.

If these advances help us make progress in life, then bring it on. But if that gleam is just hype for flimsy ideas, who needs it?

I want real progress: Progress in teaching children. Progress in sharing the wealth. Progress in bridges and highways. Progress in justice. Progress in mission and ministry.... Read this in full at

by Carol Howard Merritt
In The Christian Century and the Rise of Mainline Protestantism, Elesha Coffman outlines the origins of term “Mainline." The label commonly refers to the Episcopal Church, The Presbyterian Church (USA), northern Baptist churches, the Congregational church (now UCC), the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Disciples of Christ. Sometimes that list is longer and other times it’s shorter.

It was not a term that denominational leaders came up with, but we have embraced it for many years. Now, it’s a good time to discard it... Read this in full at

by Brantly Millegan
A speck of bone, their childhood shoes, even a drop of blood? If anything is distinctive of the devotional practices of the Catholic Church compared to Protestant Christians, it’s the Church's practices surrounding relics.

Relics are the remains of those recognized as saints, whether it is a part of their body (first degree relic), something they owned (second degree relic), or even, though less impressive, objects that have touched a first or second degree relic (third degree relic). Catholics carefully preserve relics, honor them, and even sometimes claim miracles in connection with them.

Catholics insist they are honoring Jesus' servants and in doing so are honoring Jesus. But to many Protestants, the whole practice seems at best very strange, at worst idolatrous, and, either way, in the very least, easily dismissed as just another late medieval corruption of the Catholic Church.... Read this in full at

An acid attack on a Roman Catholic priest in Zanzibar is heightening fears of increased religious tensions on the Tanzanian islands, where Christian clergy, churches and some Muslim leaders are being targeted.

On Sept. 13, the Rev. Anselm Mwang’amba, 61, suffered burns on his face, chest and arms when acid was thrown at him as he left an Internet cafe. The attack came barely a month after acid was thrown on two British teenage tourists, Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee.... Read this in full at

Ten years ago, during a routine early-morning solo tour of the area surrounding his kibbutz, Ein Gedi, on the shores of the Dead Sea, geographer-geologist Eli Raz heard an ominous rumbling noise. Raz, who is widely considered Israel’s foremost expert on sinkholes—those terrifying crater-like holes that open up without warning—immediately knew that he was about to be swallowed up.

Sitting in his windowless, cramped office on the kibbutz, Raz, 70, a wiry, sun-wizened man with thick silver hair, tells his tale calmly. “I fell in, tumbling down, deeper, deeper. I thought I’d be buried alive. Instinctively, I started to dig upward, and realized that I was lucky—not much earth had fallen in, and I had landed on a sort of ledge. I could breathe. As the dust settled, I could see the sunlight at the top. But climbing out wasn’t an option — I was afraid the hole would collapse on top of me. I was even afraid to move.... Read this in full at

The trepidation surrounding Friday the 13th is rooted in religious beliefs surrounding the 13th guest at the Last Supper - Judas, the apostle said to have betrayed Jesus - and the crucifixion of Jesus on a Friday, which was known as hangman's day and was already a source of anxiety, Vyse said. The two fears merged, resulting "in this sort of double whammy of 13 falling on an already nervous day," he said.... Read this in full at

Christianity must mean everything to us before it can mean anything to others.”
- Donald Soper

Are any of you wise and understanding? Show that your actions are good with a humble lifestyle that comes from wisdom.”
- James 3:13 (CEB)

Words: Andrew Reed, 1829; adapted by Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892)
Music: Nicholas Heins (1839-1910)

Spirit divine, attend our prayer,
And make our heart Thy home;
Descend with all Thy gracious power;
Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Come as the light! to us reveal
The truth we long to know;
Reveal the narrow path of right,
The way of duty show.

Come as the fire and purge our hearts
Like sacrificial flame,
Till our whole souls an offering be
In love’s redeeming name.

Come as the dew, and sweetly bless
This consecrated hour;
May barrenness rejoice to own
Thy fertilizing power.

Come as the dove, and spread Thy wings,
The wings of peaceful love;
And let Thy Church on earth become
Blest as Thy Church above.

Come as the wind, O Breath of God!
O Pentecostal grace!
Come, make Thy great salvation known,
Wide as the human race.

Spirit divine, attend our prayer;
Make a lost world Thy home;
Descend with all thy gracious powers,
O come, great Spirit, come.

>from NetHymnal at

The way to worry about nothing is to pray about everything.”
- Author Unknown


Use the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.

I am agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake you!

Marital harmony
Family unity
Children saved
Faithful pastor
Spirit-filled church
Real friendships
Relatives redeemed
Educational benefits
Recreational time
Fulfilling career
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will

Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Estates & inheritances
Investment increase
Rebates & returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Money to be found
Bills decrease while blessings increase

"And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God" (Deut. 28:2).

[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you'd like us to add you to our prayer chain to pray for your safety and spiritual effectiveness. I'll add your name to the list for the time you'll be away.]

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Tried to play my shoehorn. Managed to make some footnotes.
Frank Coleman, Editor

Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box! 

CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box! 

The CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to interact with other men on our journey of faith in Christ together. Large group, small group, and one-to-one events encourage relationship building and spiritual strengthening that result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ. 
Contact Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program. 
Path Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
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