Connecting man to man to God
For week of September 29, 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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“Don’t throw away your confidence — it brings a great reward. You need to endure so that you can receive the promises after you do God’s will.”
- Hebrews 10:35-36 (CEB)
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
- Jim Elliot
HOBBY LOBBY’S STEVE GREEN UNVEILS ‘OLDEST JEWISH PRAYER BOOK EVER FOUND’
Evangelical businessman Steve Green on Sept. 26 unveiled what he called “the oldest Jewish prayer book ever found” and will add it to the collection of religious artifacts that will form the core of the Bible museum he is building in Washington, DC.
The artifact, dating from 840 AD, is written in Hebrew on parchment and shows Babylonian vowel marks. Green said it was purchased less than a year ago from a private collection and is of Middle Eastern origin. But he declined to name the seller or how much he paid for it.
About the size of a large smartphone, and 50 pages long, the seller likely knew the book was special but did not realize its significance, said Jerry Pattengale, executive director of the Green Scholars Initiative, the research arm of The Green Collection.... Read this in full at
NEARLY 2/3 OF HISPANICS BELIEVE THE #BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD
Nearly two-thirds of Hispanics believe that the Bible is the word of God, and half that number (33%) believe that it should be taken literally word for word, while similar numbers (28%) believe that not everything in the Bible should be taken literally. One-quarter (25%) of Hispanics believe the Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God. Hispanic Catholics and Hispanic mainline Protestants generally resemble Hispanics overall. Hispanic evangelical Protestants and unaffiliated Hispanics, however, have distinct profiles. More than 6-in-10 (62%) Hispanic evangelical Protestants believe the Bible is the literal word of God, and an additional 25% believe that the Bible is the word of God but that not everything in it should be taken literally. In contrast, 7-in-10 (70%) religiously unaffiliated Hispanics believe that the Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God.... Read this in full at
YES, GOD WILL GIVE YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE
by Michael Hidalgo
Recently, I was going back through my journals and I read words I had written years before: “God, I can’t handle this anymore. I don’t know what to do, but I can’t do this.”
The circumstances in my life had become overwhelming, everything was crumbling, and my world was falling apart.
To be honest, if someone had come alongside me at that point and tried to reassure me by saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” I may have punched them square in the face.
That tired, old phrase often sounds more like a taunt than a comfort. When we are down and out and feeling discouraged, hearing those words can cause us to feel like we are not measuring up. It causes us to ask, “If I am supposed to handle this, then why can’t I handle it?” .... Read this in full at
STUDENTS GATHER AT FLAGPOLES FOR PRAYER
Teenagers across the country gathered at school flagpoles before classes on Sept. 25 for the 23rd annual See You at the Pole day of student prayer.
This generation of students will have a monumental impact for God's Kingdom, said Weston Savell, student pastor at Fellowship of First Baptist in Royse City, Texas, after witnessing the prayer meeting at Royse City Middle School.
"This morning, I could feel the Spirit of God moving as we held hands in one accord and prayed for spiritual revival for our school, city, and country," he said. "I felt like if we can get this generation ... really reach them ... and see them live out that faith with reckless abandonment," they will impact the church and the world.
Started in 1990 by 10 students in Burleson, Texas, See You at the Pole has grown into a global movement that -- according to the event's website, www.syatp.com -- draws more than 3 million students for prayer each year.... Read this in full at
HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN DISCREPANCIES IN THE BIBLE? INSIGHT FROM R.C. SPROUL
Over the last month, we’ve been talking about alleged contradictions in the Bible. It’s a common charge that the Bible is filled with discrepancies and contradictory statements; several weeks ago, we looked at an impressive-looking chart of Bible contradictions that’s been making the rounds — and we shared insights from theologian Darrell Bock and apologist Lee Strobel in response.
Let’s hear from one more respected Christian voice on this topic: author, preacher, and theologian R.C. Sproul. Here’s how Sproul responds to the issue of alleged contradictions in the Bible.... Read this in full at
THOUGHTFUL, BIBLICAL RESPONSE TO SAME-SEX ATTRACTION, MARRIAGE AND THE CHURCH
by Clare De Graaf
There is a tsunami coming at the evangelical church. It’s the gender-orientation and gay marriage debate. This is not a tsunami we can simply hunker down and ride out. To lose this issue is to lose the debate over the authority of scriptures to govern our lives. If a teaching so clear in both the New Testament and Old, prohibiting same-sex, sex is deemed dated and no longer applicable to us today, what else does the Bible teach that we longer have to obey – communion, discipline, marriage, divorce, pre-marital sex?
A friend sent this interview with a British pastor who has admitted that he has a same-sex attraction, but believes it’s a sin for him to act on it. It’s an honest discussion, framed biblically and sensitively. He also helps us understand what the church needs to do to encourage celibate gay Christians.... Read this in full at
POEM FOR A SON GOING OFF TO COLLEGE
by Brian Doyle
Looking at photographs of the kids. One of them is going
To college tomorrow. I used to wear that kid like a jacket.
He fell asleep instantly given the slightest chance. School,
The car, even once during a time-out at a basketball game,
Although to be fair he was the point guard and had played
The whole first half and been double-teamed. He could be
Laughing at something and you’d turn away to see a hawk
Or his lissome mom and when you turned back he was out.
But tomorrow he’s in the top bunk in a room far away. We
Will leave the back porch light on for him out of habit and
In the morning we will both notice that it’s still on and one
Of us will cry right into the coffee beans and the other will
Remember that it felt like all the poems we mean when we
Say words like dad and son and love when I slung that boy
Over one shoulder or another or carried him amidships like
A sack of rice or best of all dangling him by his feet so that
All the nickels he put in his pockets for just this eventuality
Poured down like something else we do not have words for.
10 MEMORY-MAKING THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR WIFE
You don’t have to be super-creative or break the bank to create memories with your wife. There are several simple yet meaningful activities and routines you can start to help bring you closer to your wife and at the same time create memories you will always look back on.
Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
1. Weekly date night. Simply spending quality time together is probably not enough to prevent a relationship from getting stale. Here’s how to reinvent date night.
2. Exercise together. This is a win-win. Both you and your spouse benefit from the exercise and, additionally, the relationship benefits from the time together.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
- Romans 5:3-4 (CEB)
“If Christ lives in us, controlling our personalities, we will leave glorious marks on the lives we touch. Not because of our lovely characters, but because of his.”
- Eugenia Price
TRENDS AMONG GROWING CHURCHES: SOME REFLECTIONS ON THE FASTEST GROWING AND LARGEST US CHURCHES
by Ed Stetzer
Each year at LifeWay Research, we work together with Outreach Magazine to create the Outreach 100 listings of the country's Fastest-Growing and Largest Churches. On one hand, these lists are one of the most anticipated things we do each year. People seem to eagerly await the lists so they can learn from these churches about what God is doing to build his kingdom across the United States. On the other hand, there are those who complain about the lists. They seem to think this is a way of exalting "big churches" in an effort to make them look better than the churches that are not on the list, when nothing could be further from the truth.... Read this in full at
LET’S END DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION IN CHURCH
by Mark Stephenson and John Jay Frank
We no longer pour used motor oil down the drain or smoke cigarettes after a meal in restaurants or at church socials. Some folks object to such restrictions, but by and large most of us understand the reasons and accept the laws restricting our freedom to do things that harm others.
Except when it comes to disability law.
Synod 1993 called Christian Reformed churches and ministries in the United States and Canada to voluntarily comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The 20th anniversary of that call is a good time to reflect on an issue that synod determined is central to the kingdom of God. And it’s a good time to consider why we have not wholeheartedly followed the 1993 resolution.
About 20% of the population — over 4.4 million Canadians and 60 million Americans, including 3 million US veterans with service-related disabilities — have a functional limitation or loss. Where can they attend church? An annual survey of Christian Reformed churches shows that most CRC church buildings have accessible entrances, worship and fellowship areas, classrooms, and restrooms. We have made good progress for people with mobility impairments.... Read this in full at
WHAT MADE YOU A BELIEVER?
by Adam Hunter
About a year ago, on vacation in Iceland, I found myself in a bar engaged in conversation with, well, a bit of a nut. Intensely political, rambling on about the various conspiracies he believed had been carried out by the United States government, he declared that the moon landings were clearly faked. “But it’s easy to prove you’re wrong,” I said. “There are objects left behind on the moon. Landers. Flags. Footprints. Ranging equipment. Rovers.” The man laughed loudly. “You think that man drive little car on moon? Hahahaha...”
Some people won’t believe anything. No matter what evidence exists.
It’s easier to understand why someone wouldn’t have faith in a higher power. There is no tangible, undeniable proof of God’s existence (not everyone believes the Bible came from Mount Sinai). But that doesn’t mean there isn’t evidence. It may be hard to imagine the Red Sea parting, or Jesus walking on water, but we do witness miracles every day.... Read this in full at
THE PROBLEM WITH OUR WORLD
by Billy Graham
There is no adequate explanation for what is happening throughout the world except that there is a moving of gigantic spiritual forces of evil that are gaining momentum and strength, and that behind these activities are the person and power of Satan.
The Scripture says: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Those who do not study the Bible cannot possibly see beyond human affairs. They see only the human actors in the drama of history. Wicked rulers, ruthless dictators, tyrants, oppressors, kings, governors and presidents are to them the only real characters in the drama of political life. They have no conception of the unseen realm of evil personalities that energize and motivate these human agents.... Read this in full at
THE CELL PHONE GOSPEL
by Nate Barksdale
The most touching moment in Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey's book on the mind-boggling spread of mobile phone technology in India comes in a quote from an email by one of the authors' Delhi-based Australian informants, describing an impoverished laborer he'd encountered at the edge of an urban construction zone:
>>He had one of those large Samsung smart phones; it was so uncanny and out of place. There amongst the dust, pillars and rubble of a building site was this person, dressed very poorly, holding and obviously enjoying his smart phone. He was using one of its applications, but I'm not sure which.
Whenever a modern technology leaps the barriers and takes root in places that had never been kind to its precursors, things can seem uncanny indeed, at least to those on the outside. That's part of why I've spent much of the decade enamored of news reports that fit into what I call "the gospel of cell phones in the developing world." .... Read this in full at
FIRST THE NONES, NOW THE SPIRITUALS
by Mark Silk
“I am spiritual but not religious” is one of the common refrains of our time, especially if you happen to spend a lot of time around college kids taking religion courses. You assume that it signifies a religious sensibility combined with a dislike of religious institutions. But is there anything more to these spiritual people than that?
Earlier this year, Barry Kosmin and Ariela Keysar, my colleagues at Trinity’s Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture, decided to find out. In an email survey of nearly 2,000 students at 38 colleges and universities across the country, they asked, “In general would you describe yourself more as a religious, spiritual or secular person? Select One.”
The results, cross-tabulated with a series of other questions, is a portrait of a collective identity distinctly different from both the religious and the secular, representing (along with each of the others) roughly one-third of the college population. So who are those collegians who identify themselves as “spiritual” in America today? .... Read this in full at
INTERNET BIBLE READING SURGES; 4 IN 10 NOW READ GOD'S WORD DIGITALLY
While an amazing 88% of American homes own a Bible, more and more are switching to the Internet, cell phones, and iPads to read God's word, according to a sweeping new survey of Bible use.
In its latest survey of Bible use, the American Bible Society finds that 41% of Americans used the Internet to read the Bible on a computer. Some 29% said they searched Bible verses on a cell phone, and 17% said they read an electronic version of the Bible on a Kindle or iPad.
The trend is similar in the news business, with readers shifting to digital over paper. "The data shows a continual shift to digital content," said the American Bible Society. "The number of Bible readers who use their smart phone or cell phone to search for Bible content has increased each year, with a 6% increase in the use of this format from 2012. Use of Internet to find Bible content has also increased, up 4% from 2011." .... Read this in full at
CHURCH HUNTING? THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT
by Bret Mavrich
Sean Coughlin wishes more people would go to church. His startup, FaithStreet, helps people to do just that in one of 3,677 cities across the country.
Launched in September 2011, FaithStreet is one of those brilliant innovations designed to meet a big need with simple technology. Churches fill out an online profile with key information such as location and contact numbers. Web visitors can easily browse churches near them that fit their needs. But Coughlin's web application is an unorthodox business model: FaithStreet doesn't make money unless people give to their local churches. Churches that use FaithStreet encourage attendees to give online, from which FaithStreet takes a cut. "What's great about the model is we win only when the church does," says Coughlin.... Read this in full at
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
- John Shedd
VERSE TO PONDER
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
- 2 Corinthians 13:14 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: SPIRIT OF MERCY, TRUTH AND LOVE
Words: London Foundling Hospital Collection, 1774
Music: William H. Gladstone, 1872
Spirit of mercy, truth and love,
O shed Thine influence from above,
And still from age to age convey
The wonders of this sacred day.
In every clime, by every tongue,
Be God’s amazing glory sung;
Let all the listening earth be taught
The wonders by our Savior wrought.
Unfailing Comfort, heavenly Guide,
Still o’er Thy holy Church preside;
Still let mankind Thy blessings prove,
Spirit of mercy, truth and love.
>from NetHymnal at
"Four things let us ever keep in mind: God hears prayer, God heeds prayer, God answers prayer, and God delivers by prayer."
- E. M. Bounds
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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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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