Connecting man to man to God
For week of October 13, 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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Listen to advice and accept instruction, so you might grow wise in the future. Many plans are in a person’s mind, but the LORD’s purpose will succeed.
- Proverbs 19:20-21 (CEB)
“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, I'll try again tomorrow.”
- Unknown Author
BIBLE COLLEGE HELPS SOME AT LOUISIANA PRISON FIND PEACE
Like most of his fellow inmates, Daryl Walters, 45, can expect to spend the rest of his days in the infamous prison on a former slave plantation here. He was sentenced to life without parole for a murder more than 20 years ago in a state where a life sentence means just that.
Yet there he was on a recent evening, preaching the Gospel to 200 men in a spired church in the heart of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, talking salvation and joy to murderers and rapists and robbers who waved their arms to an inmate band’s Christian worship music.
“God is merciful,” intoned Mr. Walters, an assistant pastor at one of many churches scattered through this maximum-security prison, informally known as Angola. “God gives us so many benefits.”
Mr. Walters is a graduate of one of the most unusual prison programs in the country: a Southern Baptist Bible college inside this sprawling facility, offering bachelor’s degrees in a rigorous four-year course that includes study of Greek and Hebrew as well as techniques for “sidewalk ministry” that inmates can practice in their dorms and meal lines.
There are 241 graduates so far, nearly all lifers who live and work among their peers. Dozens of graduates have even moved as missionaries to counsel or preach in other prisons.... Read this in full at
WHEN MEN ARE TOO 'MANLY'
by James Dwyer
“That kind of thing just doesn’t do it for me.”
Those are pretty much my exact words whenever typically "male" activities are proposed as some sort of meet up. When there’s a choice between paintballing and grabbing a quiet drink, it’s a no brainer — I’ll always choose the quieter option.
That’s who I am, and I get that it’s just me and that I’m not a benchmark for all men. Plenty of men get excited about rowdier, brawling activities. That's probably why men's church groups do so many of them. And, I stress, there's nothing wrong with those activities at all. But it poses a deeper question as to whether our definition of male friendships has become too narrow. Do men’s ministries which almost exclusively focus on macho activities reinforce the idea that men have to be macho and rugged to be real men? .... Read this in full at
HOW DOES GOD SPEAK TO US?
by Clare De Graaft
Having written a book on obeying God when he gives us an impression to do something, I get the “but exactly how does he do that?” question a lot.
The most common way God communicated to the prophets and major biblical characters was audibly. They heard God speaking to them. But, what about the average person in the Old Testament or people like you and me living in the New Testament? How does God communicate to us? And, if you’re a spiritual mentor or parent, those you teach will have the same question and we ought to have an answer for them.
The most common answer given by Christians is that God speaks through scripture. But, how exactly does he do that? .... Read this in full at
SUPREME COURT'S SCALIA CITES C. S. LEWIS IN CONFESSING BELIEF IN THE DEVIL
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's candid interview with New York magazine covers a lot of ground: gay rights, media echo chambers, Seinfeld, and how little he cares about his intellectual legacy. But what surprised his interviewer, Jennifer Senior, the most was his belief in "the Devil."
This actually isn't the first time Scalia has publicly raised the question of Satan. But after discussing heaven and hell, Scalia leaned toward Senior and whispered, "I even believe in the Devil." "You do?" Senior responded. "Of course!" said Scalia, explaining that all faithful Catholics do the same.
After a few more exchanges, Senior asked, "Isn't it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?" Scalia was shocked by Senior's incredulity: .... Read this in full at
The World Series will begin October 23.
Video: Oh to be as compassionate, loving, & patient as this dog http://youtu.be/2RZKsLMfsR4
> See Col 3:12
ANALYSIS: ‘GRAVITY’ AND THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS OF UNBELIEF
by Jeffrey Weiss
Reviews of the new hit movie “Gravity” note that it’s an unusually fine science fiction film. What they don’t mention is that the main character represents an increasingly common theme in American religion: The spiritual “none of the above.”
Yes, the special effects are splendid. And I’ll take the word of astronauts who say the visuals capture amazingly well what it’s like to work in the microgravity of near-Earth orbit.
But there are moments where spiritual and philosophical themes take center stage.
There’s precious little dialogue in this relatively short film that is devoted to anything but technical details. So it’s perhaps a bit surprising that a significant chunk of it is about faith — or the lack thereof. Dr. Ryan Stone, a researcher-turned-newbie astronaut played by Sandra Bullock, is eventually alone and probably facing imminent death, stuck in a damaged tin can zipping through shrapnel-loaded airless space.... Read this in full at
[Forward this article to a woman you know]
YOUR JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIBLE REVEALS YOUR DESTINY
by Janelle Hail
My background was engrained with teachings from the Bible, led by my mother, who fought her way through a fractured marriage to train her children in the ways of the Lord. She gave my brother and me understanding of God’s great love by making sure we knew His life-saving truths. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).
As I grew into a young woman, my greatest desire was to please the Lord and follow after Him. After years of marriage and children, I faced the life-threatening disease of breast cancer. At the crossroad of decision of how I would deal with the rest of my life after breast cancer, I leaned heavily on things I had grown to love about the Bible’s teachings. “Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones” (Isaiah 49:13).... Read this in full at
IS THE BIBLE TRUE? 8 REASONS TO BELIEVE IT
by Wayne Stiles
A recent poll by the Barna Group revealed a startling fact about Christians and the Bible: “Just half of all self-identified Christians firmly believe that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles (not the facts, just the principles) that it teaches.”
The entire basis of Christianity’s faith stems from what the Bible reveals about God, humanity, sin, and salvation. Is the Bible true?
Although any belief is ultimately a matter of faith, it should have a basis of credibility, reliability, and correspondence with reality. In a world where opinions of truth vary wildly, truth has to be based on more than preference.
Is the Bible true? Ultimately, the decision to believe it is up to you. Here are 8 extraordinary facts that support the Bible as the Word of God.... Read this in full at
BIBLE STUDIES PREVAIL IN NEW FAITH-BASED DORMS AT ALABAMA UNIVERSITY
Tucked in rural southeast Alabama, Troy University has opened something that’s a rarity for a public college in the United States: A faith-based dorm community where daily Bible studies are common and beer drinking is strictly forbidden.
Residents live by rules that include a ban on alcohol, mandatory community service work, and a minimum grade point average.
In one lobby, a wall is covered with fliers inviting students to Christian worship services and a daily prayer session, and slips of paper with Bible verses sit on the welcome desk.
Jorge Solis said he’s gotten used to walking past fellow students sitting in common areas reading Bibles or discussing how faith intersects with life.
“I love seeing that,” said Solis, a Catholic and sophomore resident adviser from Pell City who keeps a Bible on his desk. “Many people are here to minister to others.”
While private universities with religious affiliation often impose rules in accordance with a particular faith, such living arrangements are rare at public universities, renewing a frequent debate about the separation of church and state.... Read this in full at
YOU ARE RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE
by Andy Andrews
His name was Jones.
I was twenty-three when I saw him for the first time. I had been crying. My cries were the anguished wail that a guy will let loose only when he is sure there is no one around to hear him. And I was sure. Wrong, obviously, but sure.
My mother had succumbed to cancer several years earlier. Shortly thereafter by my father managed to chase my mother into the afterlife by way of an otherwise survivable automobile accident. One questionable decision followed another during the confused aftermath and within a couple of years, I found myself on the Gulf Coast, without a home, a vehicle, or the financial means to obtain either.... Read this in full at
MEET THE GUN-LOVING, RED MEAT–EATING EVANGELICAL WHOSE READING OF SCRIPTURE PERSUADED HIM TO EMBRACE NONVIOLENCE
Book review by David Gushee
Do Christians really need another book on how we should think about violence and war? After all, this is well-trod ground.
To a considerable extent, Preston Sprinkle, professor of biblical studies at Eternity Bible College in Simi Valley, California, has justified his own contribution. In Fight: A Christian Case for Nonviolence (David C. Cook), Sprinkle offers a strikingly powerful, Christ-centered case for nonviolence as a way of life.
Yet Sprinkle hardly fits the usual stereotypes. One tongue-in-cheek headline for the book might be, "Manly Conservative Reformed Republican Commends Christian Nonviolence." The author is conservative, Reformed, and Republican, likes violent movies, owns guns and enjoys using them, and can bench-press 250 pounds. Sprinkle has written a book defending the doctrine of hell, claims the influence of figures like John Piper, R. C. Sproul, and John MacArthur, and in many other ways shows himself to be very conservative.... Read this in full at
NEW NARNIA MOVIE IN THE WORKS
No release date has been set and there’s also no word whether Walden Media will be involved in this production. If Walden is not involved, it is likely that Silver Chair would not be released until 2018. That said, it’s not unrealistic to start planning for a new movie four years before the release date. This announcement may be an attempt to gauge fan interest in a 4th movie.... Read this in full at
WHAT DO MILLENNIALS REALLY SEEK FROM RELIGION?
For Liberty University senior Sarah Zins, religion was a deciding factor in choosing a college.
"I chose to attend a Christian university because I knew that I needed some form of structure in my life that would help me live right," said Zins, 21.
According to Zins, each residence hall at Liberty has a leadership team composed of two RAs, two spiritual life coaches and eight to 11 prayer leaders.
A recent Barna Group report found that Millennials crave depth in spirituality and recommended five ways for faith communities to build connections with them.
The first and most critical of these was to make room for meaningful relationships.... Read this in full at
12 HABITS OF RESPONSIBLE TONGUE BITING
by Doug Lawrence
For many of us, it takes a lifetime to learn how to stifle outbursts of over-speak. We talk out of turn and then pay a dear price for having done so. It is a much better practice to count to 10, then count to 20!
For example: Don’t say it’s what God wants unless you’re absolutely sure it is.
The most common and perhaps misused phrase in Christendom is, “God has led me.” For many it is used interchangeably with what might be better expressed as, “Hey, I’ve had this idea!”
We can’t afford to be vague or irresponsible with a genuine call of God. It is okay, however, to have an idea that honors God.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
You must follow the LORD your God alone! Revere him! Follow his commandments! Obey his voice! Worship him! Cling to him—no other!
- Deuteronomy 13:4 (CEB)
“The measure of a life is not its duration but its donation.”
- Corrie Ten Boom
WHY I RETURNED AGAIN AND AGAIN TO PORNOGRAPHY
by Luke Gilkerson
During a bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1973, robbers held several hostages for six long days. During this time, a curious thing began to happen: The hostages began to show signs of sympathy for their captors.
Even after the ordeal was over, one of the hostages later became good friends with one of the robbers.
The criminologist assigned to help police with the case coined the term “Stockholm Syndrome.”
While there is considerable discussion surrounding the exact nature of this phenomenon, there have been several reported cases of the syndrome; some hostages seem to form powerful emotional attachments to their victimizers as an internal defense mechanism.
I have been just as guilty of the same lunacy when it comes to my own habitual sins—like my love affair with pornography.... Read this in full at
THE PORN-FREE FAMILY
by Tim Challies,
My children are growing up fast—my son is 13 and my daughters are (almost) 11 and 7. They are asking for and in some cases even needing greater access to computers. Their friends are starting to get their first cell phones. My son just opened a Facebook account. Even my seven-year-old loves to write emails to her grandmother.
I am getting nervous. I know all the facts about what they may encounter out there, but have done too little to protect them.
I am about to strengthen my plan to protect my family. I thought it might be helpful to share this plan and this journey with you.
I have four main goals:
Goal #1. I want to guard my children from seeing or experiencing what they don’t know exists. I want the innocent to remain innocent. In other words, I do not want my children to see pornography or to experience dangerous situations before I have been able to discuss these things with them. I have already had several of these discussions with my son, but not yet with my daughters. I believe this is a talk to have with them when they are old enough—probably around 11 or 12.... Read this in full at
AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY DISMISSES DOUG BIRDSALL AS PRESIDENT
Late night, Oct. 6, one small but significant word was changed on the Wikipedia page of evangelical missions leader Doug Birdsall. The "is" in the opening sentence, "Rev. Dr. S. Douglas Birdsall is the president of American Bible Society," now says "was."
CT noted when Birdsall became president and CEO of ABS this past March after organizing the most diverse meeting of global evangelicals ever for the Lausanne Movement's Cape Town 2010 congress. But today, weeks before his Nov. 8 inauguration ceremony at ABS, he wrote in an email to "Lausanne friends":
“I am sorry to tell you that the plans for the inauguration have been cancelled. Last week the Board of Trustees at American Bible Society brought my service to a close.”
American Bible Society Board Chairman Pieter Dearolf confirmed that Birdsall's tenure "has come to a close." He wrote:
“While both the Board and Dr. Birdsall shared the same passion for all generations to engage with God's Word, there were significant differences of how to move the organization towards that goal.” .... Read this in full at
THE PERIL OF GOOD INTENT
“Beware of thy good intent, good mind, good affection, or zeal, as they call it. Peter of a good mind, and of a good affection or zeal, chid Christ (Matt. 16) because that he said he must go to Jerusalem, and there be slain: but Christ called him Satan for his labour, a name that belongeth to the devil, and said, "That he perceived not godly things, but worldly."
“Of a good intent, and of a fervent affection to Christ, the sons of Zebedee would have had fire to come down from heaven to consume the Samaritans (Luke 9); but Christ rebuked them, saying that they wist not of what spirit they were: that is, that they understood not how that they were altogether worldly and fleshly-minded.
“It is another thing then, to do of a good mind, and to do of knowledge. Labour for knowledge; that thou mayest know God's will, and what he would have thee to do. Our mind, intent, and affection or zeal, are blind; and all that we do of them, is damned of God: and for that cause hath God made a testament between him and us, wherein is contained both what he would have us to do, and what he would have us to ask of him. See therefore that thou do nothing to please God withal, but that he commandeth; neither ask any thing of him, but that he hath promised thee.”
- William Tyndale (1492?-1536), "Parable of the Wicked Mammon" , in Doctrinal Treatises and Introductions, Cambridge: The University Press, 1848, p. 105
BILLY GRAHAM, MY HOPE AMERICA: 22,000 CHURCHES NOW INVOLVED
Nike Ladapo shares a birthday week with Billy Graham, and the soon-to-be 50-year-old Texas woman is following his lead on the most fulfilling way to celebrate a milestone birthday.
For his 95th birthday on Nov. 8, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is kicking off a weeklong endeavor to reach the country with the Gospel. On Nov. 4–9, more than 22,000 churches are participating in "My Hope America with Billy Graham," reaching out with the love and Good News of Christ in homes and other venues across the country.
Nike, a member of the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church, signed up after a Sunday service (Oct. 6) to host a "My Hope Party" at her home. She said she cannot imagine a better way to celebrate her birthday than by inviting family, friends and neighbors to her home and then sharing what Christ has done in her life and how He can transform their lives.... Read this in full at
CHURCHES TAKE A STAND ON PEWS, REPLACING THEM WITH CHAIRS
At first, it just didn't sit well with Nancy Shane when her church decided to switch from pews to chairs.
"My generation grew up in pews," the grandmother of three says. She worried the sanctuary of the Windham First Church of the Nazarene would resemble a movie theater.
Yet, when the pews were removed in September and replaced with burgundy-cushioned chairs, she says she decided God didn't care whether she prayed from a pew, a chair or even the floor
"I walked in Wednesday night for a prayer meeting and the chairs were there, and they were beautiful," she says. "I thought, 'Nancy Shane, even at 68 years old, young woman, you can change.' "
She isn't the only churchgoer being asked to take a stand on new Sunday seating arrangements. Pews have been part of the Western world's religious landscape for centuries, but now a growing number of churches in the US and UK are opting for chairs, sometimes chairs equipped with kneelers.
At bottom: churches want to trim remodeling costs, maximize space flexibility with stackable seating, or create a more approachable atmosphere to draw in unchurched young people.... Read this in full at
FLORIDA BAPTIST PROFESSOR CREATING BIBLICAL WORLD VIRTUAL TOUR
Long before everyone owned a smartphone, before technology had literally reshaped modern society, Dan Warner had an idea for teaching biblical backgrounds—a virtual tour of the Holy Land.
The idea was innovative, but years ahead of its time.
As associate professor of Old Testament and archaeology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Orlando Hub (funded through Florida Baptist Theological Education), and as an adjunct faculty member at Palm Beach Atlantic University and the Baptist College of Florida, Warner teaches about the geography and history of biblical lands on a daily basis.
Warner said he tries to help students “see” how the geography of the land influenced the biblical text. Using interactive visuals rather than textbooks, he hopes to change the way people learn about Bible lands through a visual experience.
A Miami native and member at First Baptist Church in Orlando, Warner developed the idea for a virtual Bible tour more than a decade ago during one of his frequent trips to Israel. He knew from his own experience that seeing the land leads to richer understanding of the biblical text.... Read this in full at
2 BY 2 AND 2X4S: THE BUILDING OF NOAH'S ARKS
The Hidden Ark project was originally planned for a 5-acre spot just outside Hialeah, Fla., not far from the Everglades. In the spring, builders worked to create a one-tenth of a full-scale Noah's ark — imagine a 150-foot-long bathtub made of wood.
Carolina Peralta of Hidden Ark envisioned a theme park. "This is going to be our Disney in Miami," Peralta said.
The original vision of the park was as one part zoo, one part biblical experience, and cost about $1.5 million.... Read this in full at
UK MAGISTRATES' ASSOC TO DISCUSS CHANGES TO BIBLE OATH OF SWEARING TO TELL THE TRUTH IN COURT
The Magistrates’ Association, which represents 23,000 lay magistrates, will this month discuss concerns that many people do not take the oath seriously. If its policy committee approves the changes it will draft proposals to send to the Ministry of Justice.
Ian Abrahams, 62, a Bristol magistrate who proposed scrapping the oath, said: ‘More and more I see people shrug their shoulders or say “whatever” when asked to take it.
‘I’m suggesting we take holy books out of the process. Instead, people will have to show they understand they could be sent to prison if they don’t tell the truth.... Read this in full at
A LETTER FROM DAVID KINNAMAN
Last week, we announced a new platform to analyze trends, called Barna FRAMES (http://www.barnaframes.com/). These 10 books will bring highly readable and richly theological perspectives to 10 big ideas facing the Church in a complex culture today.
Today, I'd like to point your attention to the 10th FRAME.
What is this? The 10th FRAME is a book that hasn't been written yet—and you could be its author. This final FRAME is our effort to listen to ideas and trends from people from all over—to discover topics that matter to Christians and new voices that can narrate these trends.
We want to hear from you. What trend do you think needs to be "framed"?
If you are interested in being the next author in the Barna FRAMES series — or if you just want to suggest key issues that need to be examined — we invite you to participate in the 10th FRAME. Here's how you can join in (https://display.engagesciences.com/display/container/dc/1d95a404-5b86-4ec3-b890-668949887917?87).
The last day to submit your idea is October 23. So hurry!
We look forward to hearing from you as we try to bring clarity to our complex world.
President and majority owner
“There is a wonderful law of nature that the three things we crave most- happiness, freedom, and peace of mind- are always attained by giving them to someone else.”
- Author Unknown
VERSE TO PONDER
I, I am the LORD, and there is no savior besides me. I announced, I saved, I proclaimed, not some stranger among you. You are my witnesses, says the LORD, and I am God.
- Isaiah 43:11-12 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: ’TIS BURNING IN MY SOUL
Words: Delia T. White
Music: William J. Kirkpatrick (1838-1921)
God sent His mighty pow’r
To this poor, sinful heart,
To keep me ev’ry hour,
And needful grace impart;
And since His Spirit came,
To take supreme control,
The love enkindled flame
Is burning in my soul.
’Tis burning in my soul,
’Tis burning in my soul;
The fire of heav’nly love is burning in my soul,
The Holy Spirit came,
All glory to His Name!
The fire of heav’nly love is burning in my soul.
Before the cross I bow,
Upon the altar lay
A willing off’ring now,
My all from day to day.
My Savior paid the price,
My name He sweetly calls;
Upon the sacrifice
The fire from Heaven falls.
No good that I have done,
His promise I embrace;
Accepted in the Son,
He saves me by His grace.
All glory be to God!
Let hallelujahs roll;
His love is shed abroad,
The fire is in my soul.
>from NetHymnal at
“The measure of our love for others can largely be determined by the frequency and earnestness of our prayers for them.”
- A. W. Pink
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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(BTW: whenever the URLs in this newsletter are too long to turn into links on your e-mail program, just copy the entire URL (two lines or more) and paste it into a temporary email message. Then delete the return in the middle of it and copy it again. Then paste it into your web browser and hit enter.)
The speed of time is one second per second.
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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