Connecting man to man to God
For week of October 6, 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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“True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us.”
- James 1:27 (CEB)
“God Almighty would in no way permit evil in His works were He not so omnipotent and good that even out of evil He could work good.”
CHUCK SMITH, 86, DIES AFTER CANCER BATTLE
Chuck Smith, the evangelical pastor whose outreach to hippies in the 1960s helped transform worship styles in American Christianity and fueled the rise of the Calvary Chapel movement, died Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, after a battle with lung cancer. He was 86.
Diagnosed in 2011, Smith continued to preach and oversee administration at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa (California), where he'd been pastor since 1965. In 2012, he established a 21-member leadership council to oversee the Calvary Church Association, a fellowship of some 1,600 like-minded congregations in the United States and abroad.
Smith was known for expository preaching as he worked his way through the entire Bible, unpacking texts from Genesis through Revelation and offering commentary along the way.
Yet it was his openness to new cultural styles, including laid-back music and funky fashions of California's early surfer scene, that helped him reach young idealists and inspire a trend toward seeker-sensitive congregations.... Read this in full at
CHRISTIANITY IN DANGER OF BECOMING EXTINCT IN ITS BIRTHPLACE
Respected UK historian Tom Holland told a briefing in London that the world is watching the effective extinction of Christianity from its birthplace.
In an apocalyptic appraisal of the worsening political situation in the region, a panel of experts provided a mass of evidence and statistics for the end of the region’s nation states under the onslaught of militant Islam.
“In terms of the sheer scale of the hatreds and sectarian rivalries, we are witnessing something on the scale of horror of the European Thirty Years' War,” said Holland. “It is the climax of a process grinding its way through the twentieth century – the effective extinction of Christianity from its birthplace.” .... Read this in full at
THE CLARITY OF HUMILITY
“Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil's reach as humility, and so prepares the mind for true divine light without darkness, and so clears the eye to look on things as they truly are.”
- Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), The Works of Jonathan Edwards, A.M., v. I, London: William Ball., 1839, p. 399
5 LESSONS ABOUT SIN FROM AMC’S ‘BREAKING BAD’
by Scott Redd
With the airing of the series finale of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” the show’s audience finally has a complete work from which we can attempt meaningful interpretation. So what was the show was actually about?
Of course, one of the main elements of the story, perhaps the driving element, was the destructive and ultimate dehumanizing effects of sin. This point was obvious from the first season of the show as many critics have pointed out. I think the popularity of the show, however, was a direct result of how the theme of sin’s destruction/dehumanization was worked out through exceptionally well-done storytelling and characterization.
Here are five lessons about sin we can learn from the five seasons of the award-winning show.
1. Self-destructive behavior often stems from old wounds and festering bitterness. In
2. Sin doesn’t trickle, it flows.
3. True evil leads to chaos and death.
4. We lie to ourselves to justify our sin.
5. Finally, sin is not merely individual; it is communal.... Read this in full at
'BREAKING BAD': A CHRISTIAN PARABLE
by Ann Coulter
It may seem counterintuitive that a TV show about a meth cook could have a conservative theme, much less a Christian one, but that's because people think Christian movies are supposed to have camels -- or a "Little House on the Prairie" cast. READ THE BIBLE! It's chockablock with gore, incest, jealousy, murder, love and hate.
Because the Bible tells the truth, the lessons are eternal -- which also marks the difference between great literature and passing amusements. Recall that even Jesus usually made his points with stories.
The sweet, soulful druggie on "Breaking Bad," Jesse Pinkman, illustrates -- heartbreakingly -- the monumental importance of the cross. Believing he is responsible for his girlfriend Jane's death by overdose, Jesse goes to some godless hippie rehab center. Naturally, he is still unable to forgive himself.
Perfectly rationally, he concludes: "I learned it in rehab. It's all about accepting who you really are. I accept who I am. ... I'm the bad guy." He returns to cooking meth. Mayhem, murder and disaster ensue.
There's only one thing in the world that ever could have allowed Jesse to forgive himself: The understanding that God sent his only son to die for Jesse's sins, no matter how abominable. To not forgive himself after that would be an insult to God, dismissing what Jesus did on the cross as not such a big deal.... Read this in full at
APPLYING OUR LIVES TO SCRIPTURE
“It was and is no small thing to break from the surrounding unbiblical views of the world and adopt the ways and values taught in God's Word. Here [in Psalm 119] the psalmist finds nothing more practical than thinking about God's teachings and examining daily life and motives. Beyond finding applications in God's word for our lives, the psalmist would have us apply our lives to Gos's Word. Therein the psalmist develops purity and righteous character and experiences the benefits of following the Word of the Lord.”
- Brian L. Webster (b. 1965) & David R. Beach (b. 1956), The Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2010, p. 154
FROM GRIEF TO GRACE: WIFE OF AMISH SCHOOLHOUSE SHOOTER BREAKS HER SILENCE
by Daniel Burke
Among the flowers and plants in Marie Monville’s sunny yard sits a rosebush, a gift from her first husband, Charlie.
A few years ago, Monville painstakingly unearthed the roots and transplanted the bush from her old house 10 miles away - a house that Charlie had thrown into tumult and grief.
The bush’s prickles recall the pain she and her family have endured, Monville said, and its peach-colored blossoms offer a yearly reminder that God creates new life from old.
After years of silence, Monville is now telling a story of her own.... Read this in full at
Also see news release: “Memoir from Former Wife of Amish Schoolhouse Shooter Releases to National Media Attention”
THE KEY TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD
by Mark Galli
"Shut up and pray" summed up the first day of this year's Catalyst conference. It was "eloquently" spoken by Eugene Cho, lead pastor at Quest Church in Seattle, who was leading a lab on "Start from Scratch: Creating Something from Nothing," one of many sessions that shook with the expectancy and excitement that has come to characterize Catalyst. Cho's comment also pointed to something deeper for us all to ponder.
His lab addressed a passion that drives a great many of the attenders, that entrepreneurial energy to start something new that will transform others. If it's not starting something new, certainly it is the passion to make a difference that nearly every one of the 13,000 attenders of Catalyst Atlanta 2013 share. This is a far cry from an academic conference. Weary from ministry demands, they sit on the edge of their seats, taking voluminous notes, scribbling down insights, turning an ear for any drop of inspiration, soaking it all in.... Read this in full at
WHEN JESUS LOOKED DOWN ON US
by Rick Marschall
Jesus on the cross surely is one of the most depicted moments of humankind’s history. Think of icons, crucifixes, paintings, stained glass windows, mosaics, tapestries, statues, murals, tableaux, movies, and even Sunday-School lesson illustrations. I cannot think of any that do not depict this tender and powerful scene either straight-on or, occasionally, from some upward angle, the perspective of those at the foot of the cross.
Actually, I can think of one exception – the famous “Christ of St-John of the Cross,” the realistic/mystical painting by the master Salvador Dali. In this famous canvas, Dali painted Jesus from above, but front-on, hanging near the cross, without nails, or crown of thorns or scourges or blood. Beneath Him are not the gathered Mother and guards and random curiosity-seekers, but open water. At the extreme bottom, from a different perspective, the surrealist painted a shoreline of fishing boats. It is arresting, and thought-provoking.... Read this in full at
NEW GENRE-BUSTING NOVEL ‘THE POINT’ ADDRESSES POWER OF WORDS AND TELLS STORY OF REDEMPTION
“The Point: The Redemption of Oban Ironbout” is unlike any fiction available on the market today. Its messages of redemption and the power of words seem to belong in the work of C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien.
Author William Jefferson did not intend to write a novel. After a career helping to guide the communications of various ministries, including the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and The American Bible Society, he wanted to share what he had learned about the power of words.
Jefferson wrote 12 “readings” based on Scripture narratives. These readings, found in their entirety in “Redemption: Twelve Readings from the Monks of Estillyen,” focus on how God messaged redemption to the world. While Jefferson originally intended these readings to appear in a short theology book, he realized there was a greater story to be told.... Read this in full at
'ALL IN' WITH MARK BATTERSON
Mark Batterson's previous books have stared down lions on snowy days, chased wild geese, and drawn literal lines in figurative sands. In his newest book, the pastor of National Community Church urges the Church at large to quit sitting on the sidelines of faith and go All In.
FaithVillage: All In began as a sermon series by the same name. Was there a particular experience that urged you to issue this challenge to your church at the time?
Mark Batterson: Not every book is started that way. A few of them have, but [All In] is probably one of the most powerful sermon series we've ever done as a church. More people would probably say they had a defining moment, or made a defining decision, in that series than any other series we had done. It was actually the theme for 2011, as a church year. I honestly didn't think it would be a book, but somehow the seed of that series kept growing in me.... Read this in full at
AT HIS DISPOSAL
“We find the Christian life so difficult because we seek for God's blessing while we live in our own will. We should be glad to live the Christian life according to our own liking. We make our own plans and choose our own work, and then we ask the Lord Jesus to come in and take care that sin shall not conquer us too much, and that we shall not go too far wrong; we ask Him to come in and give us so much of His blessing. But our relation to Jesus ought to be such that we are entirely at His disposal.”
- Andrew Murray (1828-1917), Absolute Surrender, Bible Institute Colportage Association, 1897, p. 123-124
5 QUESTIONS FOR NBA STAR JEREMY LIN
It was only a year and a half ago that a phenomenon swept the globe and made basketball fans a little, well, "Linsane."
Back then, Jeremy Lin led a historic New York Knicks winning streak, dubbed "Linsanity." Crowds fell for the feel-good story of an overlooked bench-warmer who slept on friends' sofas to take a shot in the NBA.
A new documentary takes a look at the life of Jeremy Lin before the madness. "Linsanity," offers a glimpse of Lin's road to stardom: He was a standout basketball player in summer leagues, competed in a tightly contested high school state championship and faced racial epithets as an Ivy League athlete before landing, undrafted, in the professional league.
From the documentary, it's clear the 25-year-old Lin was used to being an underdog, and overcame his share of challenges with a deep faith and persistent spirit.
"I'm always trying to have a good time, joking around, goofy," he said. "I think I try not to take anything really too seriously."
In this edited conversation, CNN spoke to Lin, now with the Houston Rockets, about how his faith sustains him, what he learned from his months in the brightest spotlight and how he responds to racism.... Read this in full at
IS THE AMERICAN CHURCH REALLY DYING?
by Ed Stetzer
The church is not dying.
Yes, the church in the West -- the United States included -- is in transition right now. But transitioning is not the same as dying, particularly if you hold the belief that Christianity is represented by people who live for Christ, not check "Christian" on a survey form.
While I believe we need to understand reality inside our ranks, I don't believe the situation is quite as dire as many are making it out to be. Actually, no serious researcher believes Christianity in America is dying. Not one.
Instead, I believe this current cultural shift is bringing clarity that will assist in defining who we are as Christians, and that is a good thing in some ways.... Read this in full at
DEVELOPING A MINISTRY OF PRAYER FOR HEALING IN YOUR CHURCH
by Clare De Graaf
Every church believes God heals people. And, every church encourages prayer for the sick. But, do the elders of your church pray for the sick by anointing them with oil, laying their hands on them, and praying personally and intensely for them?
I was an elder in a wonderful, alive, conservative, evangelical, and non-charismatic church. We believed what James said in the following passage about the ministry of praying for the sick by the elders was true, but we just didn’t do it!
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:14-16
Then, a dozen years ago, I told my fellow elders the following story of my dramatic healing experience, which led them to embrace with enthusiasm the ministry of praying for the sick.... Read this in full at
HE SAT DOWN
by Paul Tripp
There’s not a day when by thought, word, desire, or action we fail to demonstrate that we’re needy people. Maybe it’s a thoughtless word of gossip. Maybe it's a flash of lust or envy. Maybe it's an ugly moment of irritation or anger. Perhaps it's a selfish choice that no one would notice.
Maybe it's bending the truth to your own advantage. Maybe it's an attitude of self-righteousness or pride. Maybe it's giving way to bitterness and subtle thoughts of vengeance. Somehow, someway, we all demonstrate that we’re still in need of God's daily grace.
Now this need makes you spiritually vulnerable. First, it makes you vulnerable to SELF-ATONEMENT. That's when you make yourself feel okay about your sin. How do you do that? By telling yourself that what you did wasn't actually sin.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! On account of his vast mercy, he has given us new birth. You have been born anew into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
- 1 Peter 1:3 (CEB)
“Virtue shows quite as well in rags and patches as she does in purple and fine linen.”
- Charles Dickens
CLERGY APPRECIATION MONTH: DO YOU APPRECIATE YOUR PASTOR?
Does your pastor or minister know you appreciate them? Now’s your chance to let them know: October is Clergy Appreciation Month, when churchgoers are encouraged to give thanks for their pastors, ministers, and leaders. (And yes, Hallmark has cards for it…)
It’s easy to take your pastor for granted, not noticing (or bothering to find out) the amount of work that goes into their everyday ministry. Pastors don’t “just” prepare sermons and lead worship services—they visit the sick, counsel the struggling, take the lead point on countless church ministries, and in many cases manage a staff and tend to the countless little details that keep your church running smoothly. Not to mention graciously listening to complaints about the length of their sermons, the choice of worship music, and the type of coffee served following the worship service! .... Read this in full at
BILLY GRAHAM TAUGHT CHRISTIANS NEW WAYS OF BEING IN THE WORLD
by Martin E. Marty
Billy Graham was feted in a conference at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Illinois, September 26-28, 2013. The Institute for the Study of Evangelicals planned and hosted the event, which featured a dozen substantial in-process chapters from a forthcoming book. The 95-year old now-weakened evangelist is in retreat at Montreat, his North Carolina home.
Instead of following my usual Sightings approach, which depends on the press and the Internet, I’ll lapse back into my old journalistic mode and report, using my own ample notes and impressions. The forthcoming book’s editors, Edith Blumhofer (of the Institute) and Grant Wacker (who is writing a major biography of Graham), and the book’s authors have more to say.... Read this in full at
ANALYSIS: BILLY GRAHAM’S LEGACY IS FADING ‘INTO THE MISTS OF HISTORY’
by Ken Garfield
We gathered at Billy Graham’s alma mater over three days to explore his ministry’s place in American history and chronicle its meaning for the future. It was a fascinating conversation, and poignant, too, as Graham struggles with poor health at home in Montreat, NC, far from the limelight he once commanded.
But as scholars and admirers here in suburban Chicago added to the growing conversation on Graham’s legacy, a question hovers: How many people younger than, say, 60 are listening?
As Duke Divinity School’s Grant Wacker told the Wheaton College gathering dominated by graying heads, during a recent lecture at Trinity College just one student knew the name Billy Graham. And that student thought Billy Graham was a professional wrestler.
“His story,” Wacker said, speaking of modern Christendom’s most famous figure, “is rapidly receding into the mists of history.” .... Read this in full at
EXCERPTS: BILLY GRAHAM ON SIN, SALVATION AND ‘TRENDY RELIGION’
Evangelist Billy Graham, who preached the gospel for more than seven decades, has written his 32nd book: “The Reason for My Hope: Salvation.”
The book, to be released Oct. 15, comes at a time when the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association finishes preparations for the “My Hope America” evangelistic campaign that will involve more than 21,000 churches in November.
Here is a sampling of the thoughts of the 94-year-old evangelist in his newest book: .... Read this in full at
BILLY GRAHAM’S GRANDSON TAKES CHRISTIANS TO TASK: AN INTERVIEW WITH TULLIAN TCHIVIDJIAN
by Jonathan Merritt
William Graham Tullian Tchividjian is the grandson of the iconic American evangelist, Billy Graham. But he’s also much more than that. Tchividjian is senior pastor of Ft. Lauderdale’s Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church – formerly the congregation of the late D. James Kennedy – as well as a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, a contributing editor for Leadership Journal, and the author of several bestselling books including Jesus + Nothing = Everything.
In his most recent book, One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World, Tchividjian takes Christians to task for their legalistic focus on performance. But he also casts a vision for a more grace-filled future. Here, we talk about what he thinks is wrong with the Christian church today and what he believes the answer is.... Read this in full at
For a couple of years I've been blaming it on my iron-poor blood, lack of vitamins and dieting, and a dozen other maladies. But now I found out the real reason I'm tired is because I'm overworked.
The population of the USA is 237 million. 104 million are retired. That leaves 133 million to do the work.
There are 85 million in school, which leave 48 million to do the work.
Of this there are 29 million employed by the federal government. This leaves 19 million to do the work.
Four million are in the Armed Forces, which leaves 15 million to do the work.
Take from that total the 14,800,000 people who work for state and city governments and that leaves 200,000 to do the work.
There are 188,000 in hospitals, so that leaves 12,000 to do the work.
Now, there are 11,998 people in prisons. That leaves just two people to do the work.
You and me.
And you're sitting there reading this.
BARNA GROUP & ZONDERVAN LAUNCH REVOLUTIONARY FRAMES PLATFORM
Cultural turbulence is the new normal, and people crave guidance to help them live a meaningful life in the midst of a rapidly changing world. Now, Barna Group research firm and Zondervan are partnering to launch a revolutionary platform called FRAMES to address critical trends of the day. FRAMES will be an annual series of big ideas, combining softcover mini-books, ebooks, DVDs, infographics, digital and social elements, and live events. The first series debuts January 7, 2014.
Each FRAME will tackle a crucial trend on which the church is called to speak prophetically. Contributors are experts who are passionate and informed about a particular subject, with a fresh perspective to offer. Each one will include major new research from Barna Group. The 10th FRAME in each series will be contributed by a new voice chosen through a process outlined on www.BarnaFrames.com
“Cultural analysis is the new apologetic,” says Barna Group president David Kinnaman. “FRAMES will equip people to think differently about their lives in the midst of a complex, accelerated, digital-Babylon-like world, with practical ideas that help them make sense of the times and their calling.” .... Read this in full at
NEW CEB STUDY BIBLE DEMONSTRATES THE READABILITY, RELIABILITY AND RELEVANCE OF SCRIPTURE
The new CEB Study Bible is the newest tool from Common English Bible (CEB) to help bring readers depth, insight and understanding to the biblical text within the larger historical and literary framework of the Bible, the bestselling book of all time.
Utilizing one of the top 10 translations on the market, the CEB Study Bible was assembled by almost 70 leading biblical scholars in their fields and includes thousands of study notes, hundreds of sidebar articles, five in-depth articles and 21 National Geographic maps to complement the biblical text in a way that highlights its readability, reliability and relevance.... Read this in full at
EUTHANASIA DEATHS IN NETHERLANDS INCREASE 13%
Euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands jumped 13% last year to constitute about 3% of all deaths in the European country, Baptist Press reports.
Official statistics released Sept. 23 show 4,188 people died by euthanasia in 2012, an increase of nearly 500 from the previous year, The Daily Mail reported. It marked the sixth consecutive year for an increase in the Netherlands, which legalized euthanasia in 2002.
Last year was the first during which mobile euthanasia units staffed by doctors and nurses started crossing the country to end the lives of people in their homes. The teams -- known as Levenseinde, or "Life End," units -- go to the homes of people who desire to be euthanized but whose physicians have refused to do so.... Read this in full at
“The universe is one of God's thoughts.”
- Johann Schiller
VERSE TO PONDER
“People are trapped by their fear of others; those who trust the LORD are secure.”
- Proverbs 29:25 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: THEY WERE IN AN UPPER CHAMBER
Words & Music: Charles D. Tillman, 1895
They were in an upper chamber,
They were all with one accord,
When the Holy Ghost descended
As was promised by the Lord.
O Lord, send the power just now,
O Lord, send the power just now;
O Lord, send the power just now
And baptize every one.
Yes, the power from Heav’n descended
With the sound of rushing wind;
Tongues of fire came down upon them,
As the Lord said He would send.
Yes, this “old time” power was given
To our fathers who were true;
This is promised to believers,
And we all may have it too.
>from NetHymnal at
“If He prayed who was without sin, how much more ought sinners to pray; and if He prayed continually, watching through the whole night in uninterrupted petitions, how much more ought we to watch nightly in constantly repeated prayer!”
- St. Cyprian (Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus) (?-258), The Ante-Nicene Fathers, v. V, Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, trs., Buffalo: Christian Literature Company, 1886, p. 455
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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