Connecting man to man to God
For week of October 20, 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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The LORD counsels those who honor him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are always looking to the LORD because he will free my feet from the net.
- Psalm 25:14-15 (CEB)
“Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.”
- Albert Schweitzer
Q&A: BILLY GRAHAM'S WARNING AGAINST AN EPIDEMIC OF 'EASY BELIEVISM'
In the heyday of his crusade ministry, Billy Graham would travel across the globe to preach to stadium-sized audiences. Now, though confined to his home in the mountains of western North Carolina, the mass evangelist is still able, using modern technology, to continue proclaiming the gospel.
November marks the beginning of the "My Hope America with Billy Graham," campaign, a video evangelism course designed for individual and small group use. In conjunction with the launch of My Hope America, Graham has released what may be his final book, The Reason for My Hope: Salvation.
Christianity Today asked Graham about his thoughts on the present state of Christian belief and his confidence, amidst theological and cultural confusion, in the core gospel message.
Q: Why, according to the title of your book, is salvation the reason for your hope?
A: As I approached my 95th birthday, I was burdened to write a book that addressed the epidemic of "easy believism." There is a mindset today that if people believe in God and do good works they are going to Heaven. But there are many questions that must be answered. There are two basic needs that all people have: the need for hope and the need for salvation. It should not be surprising if people believe easily in a God who makes no demands, but this is not the God of the Bible. Satan has cleverly misled people by whispering that they can believe in Jesus Christ without being changed, but this is the Devil's lie. To those who say you can have Christ without giving anything up, Satan is deceiving you. While I am no longer able to stand in the pulpit and deliver a sermon from the Bible, God laid on my heart a burning desire to put this message in book form—a message that resonates within me every time I switch on the news. When I visit with people from all walks of life the question is asked, "What is happening in the world?" .... Read this in full at
PREPARATIONS FOR PERHAPS LARGEST EVANGELISTIC EVENT IN US HISTORY ON TRACK; BILLY GRAHAM'S MESSAGE 'THE CROSS' COMPLETE
Preparations for perhaps the largest evangelistic event in US history continue for Billy Graham and his ministry team with just three weeks to go before the famed preacher's message "The Cross," filmed from his home in North Carolina, is planned for broadcast through multiple platforms.
The event, scheduled to coincide with Graham's 95th birthday, is named, "My Hope America with Billy Graham," and is a nationwide effort to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, states the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Unlike traditional large-scale evangelistic events, the outreach is designed for Christians, whether they be a pastor, ministry leader, or lay person, to invite guests and host a viewing in a chosen venue, possibly even a home.... Read this in full at
NFL VIOLENCE A MORAL THORN FOR CHRISTIANS: COLUMN
by Tom Krattenmaker
Pro football has a serious morality problem. I am not talking about promiscuous players or racist team nicknames. Nor am I referring to the obscene amounts of money changing hands between the masses obsessed with football and the sports industrial complex that keeps them supplied.
I am talking about the risk the players are taking on for our entertainment — the risk, if the growing pile of evidence is to be believed, of brain damage. In light of an investigation by journalists Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, we now know better than ever that playing in the National Football League can destroy men's cognitive health, and that those who run the nation's most powerful sports league have been making herculean efforts to keep the risk obscured.... Read this in full at
LOVING IS HARD
“We can talk about love all we want, but loving those who are unlovely is how we learn about love. Jesus gave Peter some excellent teaching about betrayal and arrogance, but Peter didn't understand what Jesus was talking about until he actually betrayed Jesus. Peter's failure was the primary cause of his understanding and maturity.”
- Mike Yaconelli (1942-2003), Messy Spirituality , Zondervan, 2007, p. 91
“BREAKING BAD” PLAYS THE BIBLE CARD
by Joy Overbeck
I didn’t actually see my first episode of much-awarded mega-hit “Breaking Bad” until a few days before September’s series finale. One episode and I was tragically hooked. Having never binged on a TV marathon before, I’m embarrassed at all the hours I watched, unable to turn the thing off. It became an epic overdose that reduced my eyes to tiny red stinging slits.
But it was worth it to see ancient biblical principles of right and wrong hiding in plain sight, brilliantly worked out in this contemporary morality play so adored by our increasingly amoral culture.
“Breaking Bad” follows the descent into hell of one Walter White (Bryan Cranston), an everyman, blend-into-the-crowd guy—a kind of Walter (gee, what a coincidence) Mitty. Over five seasons, this everyman becomes a raving psychotic murderer and criminal rock star presiding over his very own methamphetamine empire.
As Walter says in the opening of every episode, “Chemistry is the study of transformation.” Indeed.... Read this in full at
THIS STUNNING 3-MIN VIDEO WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT JESUS
He was born with no wealth and no status. He traveled by foot from land to land. He was betrayed and killed, then rose again. His amazing message wasn’t spread through a pricey ad campaign, but sold out disciples. And it’s still spreading. Watch this video at
FIVE IDEAS TO TRANSFORM YOUR WORSHIP NEXT SUNDAY
by Clare De Graaf
When was the last time you thought about what God himself thinks of your hour and ten minutes of worship each Sunday?
While I can’t know what God thinks, I do know what I think. So, if I’m not intentional about truly worshipping, here’s what a Sunday morning can look like to me and God.
I drive to church thinking about anything except worship and God. Susan and I are talking about what we did yesterday or our plans for this afternoon, but God generally isn’t being discussed. As we walk from the parking lot to the church I’m thinking about the nice cars people are driving, greeting friends, and sizing people up.
I sit down and read the worship folders to find out what’s going on in the church this week. Still no serious thoughts of God. I’m just killing time until the service begins. When it does, it generally starts with congregational singing. Too often, I sing many songs thoughtlessly – I’m on automatic. And, occasionally I notice certain people not singing at all – just standing there and I’m wondering, “why”? It rarely dawns on me that thinking about them while I thoughtlessly mouth the words, is no worse than not singing at all!.... Read this in full at
NO FEAR! PART TWO
by Charles R. Swindoll
In Part One, we talked about God's sovereign control over physical catastrophes. But there is more, much more, in Psalm 46. What about warfare? All Hebrews looked upon Jerusalem, especially in those days, as "the city of God" (46:4). The psalmist imagines a river that flows into the channels that irrigate the soil. He pictures in his mind's eye the crops and plants that grow there in that desert-like region, thanks to the flowing water. He calls the city the "holy dwelling places of the Most High" (v. 4). And again God emerges as paramount . . . God is the star of the event. "God is in the midst of her," he exclaims.
"God," verse five continues, "will help her when morning dawns" (when the attack comes from the enemy). See how he puts it? When "the nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered" (v. 6). It's the picture of the Assyrians, the Egyptians, and the other enemies as they would come in and tromp over Israel with heavy boots, assaulting and attempting to blast her into nonexistence. But it never happened. Why? Because of her refuge. God is in the midst of her. And the result is this: "She will not be moved" (v. 5).... Read this in full at
HOW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING MILLENNIAL FAITH
They’re called digital natives for good reason — Millennials certainly stand apart from other generations in terms of their technological savvy. They’re also in a class of their own when it comes to faith experience and practice.
But what happens when the unique spiritual and technological trends among Millennials collide? The latest study from Barna explores just that.
The church has always used regular habits and practices designed to help people worship. These habitual practices — such as prayer, Scripture reading, Sabbath observance, gathering every Sunday and more — have been part of the church throughout the centuries.... Read this in full at
20 TIPS FOR PERSONAL DEVOTIONS IN THE DIGITAL AGE
by David Murray
I want to give you some tips to keep your spiritual head above the water in the face of the digital deluge.
1. Take guilt to God: Mention devotions to most Christians and the guilt meter goes straight to red: guilt over failure to do them, guilt over lack of profit in them, guilt over rushing through them. As there’s nothing so motivating as starting with a clean sheet, let’s take all our guilt to God and find the energy and freedom that comes from a full and free forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
2. Get to bed early: The main reason why people skip devotions is going to bed so late that they cannot get up in time in the morning to read and pray.
3. Turn off your phone and avoid computer: It’s absolutely vital that you meet with God before anyone else in the day. Keep your mind free of digital distractions.... Read this in full at
CHURCH STEREOTYPES, ACCORDING TO GOOGLE
For some of the most brutally honest Christian stereotypes, head straight to Google.
The search engine relies on an algorithm to suggest popular queries for nearly everything, so when users type questions about churches or denominations, Google's autocomplete feature fills in the rest.
Blogger Brian LePort shared a list of Google's denominational stereotypes on his site, Near Emmaus.... Read this in full at
WIFE OF AMISH SCHOOL SHOOTER FOUND STRENGTH IN THE LORD
by Mark Ellis
When her husband Charlie called to tell her he wasn’t coming home she knew something wasn’t right. At the time of the call he had already taken 10 girls hostage inside a one-room Amish school in Nickel Mines, a village in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Charlie Roberts, a milk truck driver and family man with three kids, proceeded to shoot each girl execution-style in the back of the head before he turned the gun on himself, committing suicide. His wife, Marie, was blindsided. She had no clue this was coming.... Read this in full at
CHUCK SMITH MEMORIAL SERVICE TO INCLUDE GLOBAL WEBCAST FROM 18,000-SEAT ARENA
Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa announced plans for a public memorial service for Pastor Chuck Smith, who died after a battle with lung cancer nearly two weeks ago, that include hosting the event at the more than 18,000-seat capacity Honda Center arena in Anaheim, Calif., on Oct. 27. Additionally, more than 200 churches worldwide presently plan to show the tribute, live via webcast, to the man credited for being instrumental in both the Calvary Chapel and "Jesus People" movements.
Evangelist and pastor Greg Laurie is scheduled to give a Gospel message during the memorial, according to a Harvest Ministries spokesperson. Harvest, known for its large-scale Christian outreaches, is providing the staging and is facilitating the webcast for the event. Churches planning to show the event by webcast include congregations in Kenya, Haiti, Japan, Peru, US, and several other countries.... Read this in full at
IOWA COUPLE OFFER ROADSIDE PRAYER MINISTRY
The side of a highway isn't your normal place for prayer but Karen and Emil Liko set up there every single day letting anyone pull over for free who just needs someone to talk to or a little helping hand.
They bring their bike, some chairs, and their Bible.
Karen and Emil Liko are on a mission and it's just to help people who need someone to listen to them.... Read this in full at
SENATE CHAPLAIN: 'GOD'S PURPOSES WILL PREVAIL'
"I think the most important thing that voters can do, quite frankly, is to join me in prayer," US Senate Chaplain Barry Black said during an interview with WTOP radio station. "There's a Bible verse in James 5:16 that says, 'The effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous avail much.' And so I believe that it is time for citizens to pray."
Black, a native of Baltimore and retired Navy rear admiral, has garnered attention recently for his prayers at the start of Senate sessions -- supplications which have included a plea to "save us from the madness." .... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
- Psalm 19:14
“Take those road hazards- the potholes, ruts, detours, and all the rest- as evidence that you were on the right route. It's when you find yourself on that big, broad, easy road that you ought to worry.”
- Joni Eareckson Tada
CHAGALL’S JEWISH JESUS
This modern artist’s body of work was based on the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish Jesus, often depicted with tallit and phylacteries. In the crucified Christ he saw the personification of Jewish suffering, pain, and sadness.
View a selection of Chagall’s paintings from the exhibition “Chagall: Love, War, and Exile” at the Jewish Museum in New York at
WHAT ARCHAEOLOGY TELLS US ABOUT THE BIBLE
The workday is just beginning in Jerusalem, 20 miles to the northeast over folded ridges and misty valleys, but the sound of clinking trowels and creaking wheelbarrows has been echoing across this hillside since dawn. Dust billows up in the morning sun as a worker sweeps away a section of the excavation, where Hebrew mingles with American accents and yarmulkes with wide-brimmed hats.
Clad in soggy T-shirts, the crew sifts through the ruins of a city that some archaeologists believe was part of the biblical realm of King David 3,000 years ago. At 8:30 a.m., Yosef Garfinkel, the codirector of the dig, arrives to survey the project, one of the most prominent and politically sensitive in a country rife with historical excavations.
He grabs diagrams and maps from a trailer and barely settles in under a canopy when a coin specialist, Yoav Farhi, approaches him expectantly. Mr. Farhi extracts a tiny white envelope from his pocket and, with dirt-encrusted fingers, pries open the stiff paper to reveal the treasure inside – a coin from the era of Alexander the Great, imprinted with the visage of the Greek goddess Athena.... Read this in full at
[For your high school graduate]
11 CHRISTIAN COLLEGES OFFER BEST 'CHANCE OF FINDING A SPOUSE'
The longstanding stereotype of Christian colleges being good places for MRS degrees seems to have gotten an empirical boost, thanks to Facebook.
The social network's Data Science Team ran an analysis of how many married college graduates in America state on Facebook that they are married to a fellow graduate of the same institution. The answer: 28%.
And while school size and shared political affiliation play a role, the strongest correlating factor proved to be religion.... Read this in full at
INTERVIEW: HANNAH LUCE, LONE SURVIVOR IN PLANE CRASH, SHARES INSPIRATIONAL STORY IN NEW BOOK, 'FIELDS OF GRACE'
In riveting detail, Hannah Luce, the daughter of pastor and Teen Mania Ministries co-founder, Ron Luce, describes in her new book, Fields of Grace: Faith, Friendship, and the Day I Nearly Lost Everything, the horrifying experience of being the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed four of her friends and left her with a grueling recovery after sustaining burns to 30% of her body.
On May 11, 2012, Luce and four of her close friends, one of whom was the pilot, boarded a twin-engine Cessna 401 from Tulsa, Okla., to attend a Teen Mania "Acquire the Fire" youth rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, when one hour into the flight smoke and what Luce describes as "hot air" and soot filled the cabin. The pilot, Luke Sheets, 24, who had earned his commercial pilot's license, radioed in for permission to descend as the plane plummeted to the ground and crashed near a corn field in rural Altoona, Kan.... Read this in full at
A JOURNEY OF FAITH IN FIVE TATTOOS
by the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber
The first tattoo I got was meant to set me apart from my conservative suburban Christian community, a way to signify “I don't belong to your tribe.”
Little did I realize that if I lived long enough I’d eventually become mainstream.
Tattoos now cover me from shoulder to wrist, but with the ubiquity of body art today, in many of the places I hang out I look more like a soccer mom than an outlaw.
Even the ill-advised and regrettable tattoos are part of my story, and ultimately, that’s what tattoos are: a way to wear stories –– our mistakes, celebrations, relationships, insights and losses –– on the skin.... Read this in full at
BEFORE CHURCHES HAD SONGBOOKS, THERE WAS 'LINED-OUT' GOSPEL
Deep in the hills of Appalachia, there's a mournful, beautiful style of church music that hasn't changed since the 18th century.
The hymns of the Old Regular Baptist Church are sung in the so-called "lined-out" style brought to America by British colonists. It can be heard in the town of Sassafras, Ky., hidden in a hollow between mountainsides covered with sugar maple and yellow buckeye and shot through with veins of bituminous coal.
On a Saturday morning in September, several hundred men and women — many solidly built, with square faces — have gathered in a Depression-era building to worship and sing. They settle into green-cushioned pews in a large, well-lit sanctuary. One of the men sitting behind the pulpit, under the picture of a kneeling Jesus, feels moved to start a song.... Read this in full at
VATICAN GETS GREENLIGHT FOR .CATHOLIC INTERNET DOMAIN
As top-level domain names are being rolled out and up for grabs, the Vatican has scored control of .catholic.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which coordinates the assignment of Internet domain names and addresses around the world, has been allowing entities to apply for ownership of hundreds, and soon thousands, of new domain names such as .london, .insurance and .xbox, among others.... Read this in full at
ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS MARK 1,700TH ANNIVERSARY OF EDICT OF TOLERANCE
Eight Orthodox Christian leaders, dignitaries from other faiths, politicians and thousands of others Oct. 13 celebrated the anniversary of the Edict of Milan, which established toleration for Christianity in the Roman Empire 1,700 years ago.
Roman Catholic Pope Francis was not present at the liturgy in the Serbian city of Nis, his absence reflecting centuries-old divisions between the two main Christian denominations, despite moves by both towards reconciliation and dialogue.... Read this in full at
“Life's short and we never have enough time for the hearts of those who travel the way with us. O, be swift to love! Make haste to be kind.”
- Henri-Frederic Amiel
VERSE TO PONDER
That is why you are so great, LORD God! No one can compare to you, no god except you, just as we have always heard with our own ears.
- 2 Samuel 7:22 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: WAITING FOR THE PROMISE
Words: Fanny Crosby, circa 1897
Music: John R. Sweney
Come, Holy Ghost, and touch my tongue
As with a living flame;
I want the sanctifying grace
My Savior bids me claim.
Waiting, I am waiting
For the promise of the Pentecostal shower;
Waiting, I am waiting
For the promise of Thy wondrous, mighty power.
Come, Holy Ghost, with sacred fire
Baptize this heart of mine;
Break every earthly idol down,
And all its dross refine.
I want a self renouncing will,
That owns His sweet control,
And through my life I want His love
A ceaseless flood to roll.
Come, Holy Ghost, the blood apply
As Thou hast ne’er before,
That I may shout my Savior’s praise
Henceforth and evermore.
>from NetHymnal at
“He who has learned to pray has learned the greatest secret of a holy and happy life.”
- William Law
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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Stop telling God how big your storm is. Instead, tell your storm how big your God is.
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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